Skip to main content

Full text of "The economic policies of Richelieu"

See other formats




A. B. Oberlin College, 1914. 
A. M. University of Illinois, 1915. 


Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for 

Degree of 

I N 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 





SUPERVISION BY. Franklin Charles Pa ls 


THE DEGREE OF Doctor of Philosophy 

U4 . j 

Head of Department 

In Charge of Thesis 


Final Examination 



Required for doctor's degree but not for master's 


utuc ' 




Richelieu is known chiefly by his political accomplishments. 
The aim of this thesis is to point out that he was an 
economic as well as a political statesman. The econ- 
omic side of his career has been underestimated, and 
a study of this is important in order to attain a fair 
estimate of his character and accomplishments. 


The 17th century was the age of mercantilism. Definition 
of the mercantil istic age of which Richelieu was 
on the whole a true exponent. 


The age of Henry IV and Sully was the first in which the 
economic side of French development was recognized 
and fostered. Both Sully and Henry IV lacked definite 
conceptions of economic doctrine, and what they ac- 
complished along economic lines largely disappeared 
after the death of Henry IV. The meeting of the 
Estates General in 1514, and the assumption of control 
of the government of Richelieu in 1624. 


The importance of the study of Montchretien' s economic 

ideas. Important events attended the appearance of 
this work about the year 1514, so that Richelieu was 
confronted with both theoretical and practical economic 
problems from the first. Montchretien realized the need 
of a great man at the head of the affairs of state to 
meet the various economic problems. The economic 
philosophy of Montchretien was very similar to Rich- 
elieu' s. It is probable that the Cardinal read and was 
influenced by Montchrdtien' s book. 





Richelieu regarded the King as the father of his country 
responsible to God alone. He and the Cardinal were 
to do all they could to build up the state of which 
the King was the sole earthly owner. 



A. The Nobility 41 

Richelieu wanted to reduce the political power of the nobles 
and increase their economic and other usefulness- He 
recognized the justice of their claims to a large place 
in the administrative functions of the country, and 
frankly opposed them only in so far as they injured 
the development of the state. 

B. The Clergy 48 

Richelieu desired a national clergy as an important factor 
in the welfare of the state. He recognized their 
economic as well as their religious value. 

C. The Third Estate 52 

Richelieu, according to some writers, considered the Third 
Estate from the point of view of the welfare of the 
nation, even though such consideration proved detri- 
mental to the position of that body. Yet he did have 
sympathy for the Third Estate from the very first, 
and tried to better its position. Other problems pre- 
vented the completion of his plans in its behalf, which 
one can find expressed in his Testament Politique . 


Centralization, according to Richelieu, is a means of state 
building. In becoming "grand master, chief and general 
superintendent of navigation and commerce, " he took 
his first important step in the economic centralization 
of power in the hands of one man. Richelieu's treatment 
of all individuals was based on their contribution for 
or against the public welfare. The economic importance 
of the Intendants, the reduction of the powers of the 



Parlements, and Richelieu's relations toward the 
Huguenots. His ideas concerning the selection 
of royal officials. The government furthered 
any schemes beneficial to the public welfare: i.e., 
Ho spitals . 


The financial policy of Richelieu is difficult to treat. 
It must be considered as a whole, even though it 
was incomplete at the time of the death of the 
Cardinal. This phase of his administration is not 
so bad as has been depicted as shown by a study of: 

A. French finances during the administration of 
Richelieu, and the efforts made to reform them; 

B, the theoretical financial views of tbe Cardinal 
as found in his Testament Politique . 



What little Richelieu accomplished in the field of internal 
affairs was brought about largely because of the in- 
fluence of the wars, and was based on the same uncon- 
scious mercantilistic principles as he followed in 
, his external affairs, peace was needed before the 
maximum attention could be paid to internal problems. 
His efforts to develop agriculture, industry, and 
internal commerce. 


Richelieu, appointed to the position of "grand master, 
chief, etc.," used this office as a means for car- 
rying out his ideas in regard to creating a great 
marine. Causes which influenced him to take action 
along this line. His accomplishments, in tbe way 
of building up the war and merchant marine. The 
importance of his work. 





Little done before Richelieu's time, but an unprecedented 
growth in French colonization under his direction. 
His early ideas with regard to colonization. His 
accomplishments, and the results of this phase of his 


The rise of foreign commerce during the age of Richelieu 
made it naturally an important part of his adminis- 
tration.As Superintendent of the marine and commerce, 
he tried to develop it to the utmost, as illustrated 
best in the articles of the "Code Michaud" . Diffi- 
culties encountered in the efforts to develop com- 
merce. Richelieu's conception of the value of com- 
merce as an important part of the "great state" idea, 
as illustrated in his commercial relations with other 
great European powers, the Levant, and minor countries. 
General ideas of the Cardinal concerning trade as 
expressed in his Testament Politique . 


Richelieu advocated a combined continental and colonial 
policy. He planned that internal economic develop- 
ment of France should be carried out extensively 
after the Thirty Years 'War was over. His "welfare 
of the state" doctrine, which was the guiding force 
of his administration,was not understood or compre- 
hended by the coamon people. The economic elements 
in his diplomatic relations with Spain, England, 
Holland, Italy, and the northern States. The economic 
phase of the Thirty Years' War. Richelieu's purpose 
in entering the war from an economic point of view. 


Mazarin carried out only the external political phase of 
Richelieu's policy. Thus France lost a great oppor- 
tunity. Colbert took -up the economic program again 
but it was too late. Richelieu looked forward to a 



period of universal peace, and an opportunity for 
a political and economic reconstruction of France. 
His two general contributions to economic thought 
and practice. 






Car chacun salt que, quoique vous fassiez, 
En guerre, en paix, en Toy age, en affaires, 
Vous vous trouvez tou jours dessus vos pieds. 

Works of Voiturs, II, 426-7. 

Edition Ubicini. 

Chapter I 

If one were to ask the average well informed man con- 
cerning the career of the Cardinal da Richelieu, the reply would 
be one which would convey an intelligent appreciation of the po- 
litical acts of this great and interest in man, for tnese have 
been regarded as constituting; the dominant phase of his life. 
His genius along this line has been clearly brought out in his 
conduct of the French participation in the Thirty Years' War, 
his settlement of the religious question in France, and his re- 
lations with foreign powers, the nobility, the Pope, the Queen 
Mother, and other eager opponents of his ideas. "One is accus- 
tomed by habit to consider Richelieu in his struggle against 
Austria on the outside and the nobles and Protestants on the in- 
side, as only a diplomat of keen and profound conceptions, a man 
of the state advancing to his designs with an unflinching- ener- 
gy, founder of the absolute monarchy.""'" 

Pigeonneau, Mist oi re du Co mmerce de la France , 3 vols., 
Paris, 1889, 375. 


However, there is another side to his career which had 
no inconsiderable importance in directing and influencing his 
entire life and accomplishments, namely the economic phase of his 
administration. History has placed such an emphasis on the 
other part of his life that it is difficult even to ask if eco- 
nomic interests held any place in that spirit which was agitated 
by such great designs. For example, did Richelieu have an eco- 
nomic purpose in his capture of La Rochelle? Whas his aim in 
entering the Thirty Years' War purely political? Did the Cardi- 
nal have an economic philosophy? It is to be the purpose of 
this thesis to determine the economic elements which entered into 
the life and deeds of Richelieu, and thereby to establish the 
claim that this man was not only a magnificent political states- 
man, but was also fundamentally an economist, with all the crude 
but important economic conceptions of his time. In other words 
he was an economic statesman as well as a political statesman. 
To build Prance up as a strong economic and political unit was 
the goal of his ambition, which a premature death prevented him 
from reaching. 

Before going further, it seems best to explain the 
term Economic Statesman. A man who holds sn important public 
office like the Cardinal's has two principal ways of developing 
his country and thus carrying out the requirement of his office; 
namely, to make her strong first politically and second econom- 
ically. Both may be of equal importance and effect, and may 
interact on each other. In so far as he follows the theoreti- 
cal principles of political science in carrying out the work of 


his administration, he is a political statesman, and in so far 
as he follows the theoretical principles of economics in that 
work he is an economic statesman. 

The latter aspect of Richelieu' s achievements has been 
almost universally neglected. It is admitted that he was a 
great statesman and it seems only fair to include under that gen- 
eral title both the political and economic elements which entered 
into it, 

A few writers have called attention to the general neg- 
lect of this aspect of Richelieu's activities. One says that 
"most historians have glided rapidly over the economic side of 
Richelieu's career. Other writers have claimed that there is 
a gap in our general histories and if Richelieu had despised or 
neglected these questions it would have been due to a weakness 
in his spirit. Yet, far from putting them back to second place, 
he has brought them to the front and has studied them v.ith pas- 
sion. He certainly has not imparted second rate ideas in his 
treatment of commerce, the marine > and colonization,"^" Another 
writer, who has treated Richelieu's career from the administra- 
tive point of view, claims that the Cardinal's work as an ad- 
ministrator is not inferior to his political ability. He cre- 
ated in all directions a vigorous impulsion to national energy, 
which if continued along those lines would have produced won- 
derful results. The same writer in defending the case of 

Pigeonneau, II, 375-6. 

2 ^ v 

Caillet, J • , L '.administration en France sous le Minister e 

du Cardinal de Richelieu . Paris, 1857, Introduction, T^lV 


Richelieu as far as concerns his entire administrative career 
has succeeded in bringing to light the economic aspect of the 
man. In fact most of his administrative reforms were of direct 
or indirect economic importance. When Caillet proceeds to 
point out the fact that he centralized the monarchy and laid 
Prance open to administrative reforms, by ruining the political 
positions of the Protestants and the nobles, by giving the coun- 
cil of state a superior place, by diminishing the power of local 
government and establishing fixed duties in the generalities;^" 
he really indicates the first steps taken toward an economic re- 
form of the country which Richelieu fully intended to carry 
through. Many difficulties, however, prevented the great min- 
ister from accomplishing all he desired. Most people have neg- 
lected to take these into consideration and thus he has been 
denied a fair judgment of his career upon the economic side. 

His great internal and external accomplishments seem 
impossible when one considers his poor physical health. Sick 
throughout his life, one wonders how he was able to carry out 
or even to conceive the things he did. Then there were the 
many external and internal difficulties to be removed, some of 
which indeed, were of a sort directly opposed to the material 
development of any nation, as the Huguenot situation, for ex- 
ample. Indeed, says one writer, the historian who studies the 

Caillet, Introduction, I-IV. 
2 Ibid., VI -IX. 


government of the greatest statesman France ever had without 
considering at that time the gravity of the internal situation 
and the many difficulties of the internal organization; without 
appreciating the diversity of provinces, and the multiplicity of 
their franchises; without seeing the conflicts of religious be- 
liefs, the variety of taxes, customs, etc. in permanent conflict; 
without considering the immense interests of the kingdom and the 
conditions of its power and security, will never comprehend 
either the power or the ability of this man, or the genius of 
his work.* Indeed the pressing need to encounter these many 
problems is best illustrated in the opening passages of Riche- 
lieu's Testament Politique , where he maintained that his first 
problems were to ruin the political power of the Huguenots, 
lower the pride of the nobles, reduce all rebellious subjects 

to their duties, and raise the king's name again in foreign af- 


fairs, to the place where it ought to be. He then goes on to 
discuss some of the multitude of foreign troubles. The very 
fact that he had so many problems to encounter and still had 
time to carry out and plan some economic accomplishments, would 
seem to indicate that he laid or at least tried to lay especial 
emphasis on that side of his administration. 

A good example of the difficulties encountered by 

1 < 

Th. Funck Bentano, Antoyne de Montcretien, Traicte de 

l'oeconomie Politique , Introduction,XCI. 

Richelieu, Testament Politique , Londres, 1770, pt.l>8 

Richelieu is shown in the opposition of public opinion or sec- 
tions of it. In fact in 16£6 he was accused of ruining the 
rights and interests of France by remaining at peace. This ac- 
cusation was voiced by some so-called "libelles" in Germany, who 
saw no good in his actions.^ However it is interesting to no- 
tice that "theologians" in reply maintain that the reasons which 
guided the king and the Cardinal with regard to the so-called 
resolutions of peace are unrecognized by his opponents. "Why 
not praise what has been accomplished rather than condemn what 
has not been carried out? Since you bear the names of Chris- 
tians would it not be better to judge those things which are be- 
neath the surface rather than to condemn the surface indications?" 
In other words, criticised by some because he fostered wars, and 
by others because he made peace, his problems were very modern 
indeed, and it is no wonder that many sides of his career (the 
economic for example) have been submerged because of a mistaken 
perspective of the difficulties involved. 

Because of this, it seems profitable to dwell for a 
while upon the economic activities of the man and to show that 
most phases of his administration were more or less influenced 
by concepts of that nature, as brought out by a study of his past 
deeds and accomplishments. However in doing so one must look 
upon history not only as a progressive development and as the 
continuous and uninterrupted growth of one vast organism, each 
century of which forms an organic part of the living whole and 

Mercure Francois ^(1604-44), a Paris, XII, 516-18. 


apart from that whole has no separate life or meaning, but one 
must also realize that in each cross section of this whole are 
found many separate threads, all of which are directly or in- 
directly related, and which as a sum total go to form that part 
of the whole which in turn is never ending. The economic 
thread is our problem. Let us examine its importance in the 
confusing unsolved period of the first half of the seventeenth 
century, the age of Richelieu. 


Chapter II 

The seventeenth century was distinctly the age when 
mercantilism reached its height. It was the natural outcome of 
a series of historical events which caused men to grasp and un- 
derstand the economic theories of this doctrine without realizing 
that they really were developing a distinct school of economic 
thought. However, it did not take men long to discover the 
philosophy behind it and to formulate this along definite lines, 
once it had become the cardinal feature of a nation's develop- 
ment. It is desirable to distinguish some of the important 
factors which led to the practice of mercantilistic ideas and 
the consequent theoretical formulation, because as will be shown, 
Richelieu based his entire administration on the principles of 
the mercantilistic doctrine and in doing so was one of the most 
enlightened exponents of that system. 

The mercantilistic age seems to fall in the period of 
transition from medieval to modern conditions, and really grew 
out of those changes. "In fact," says one writer, "the decom- 
position of medieval feudal life into modern existence is one of 
the two chief aspects of modern life."^ He goes on to say that 
the new system based on individual activity and scientific 

1 Bridges, L. H., France Under Richelieu and Colbert , Edin- 
burgh, 1866, 5-10. 


conviction has superseded the old military activity and super- 
natural beliefs of the middle age. In other words he maintains 
that industry has been substituted for v-arfare. However it often 
seems better to put industry as another cause for warfare. More- 
over the beginnings of the separation of church and state, the 
growth of commerce and industries, and the discovery of the new 
world with all its important consequences had a strong influence 
in developing the modern age to the detriment of the medieval age 
with its feudalistic basis of existence. It resulted in the 
growth of the state as the vital force which was to expel all 
the needless and unhappy phases of the past ages, and a new kind 
of feudalism came into existence in which the state, or its king, 
was the actual feudal lord and his subjects were his vassals. As 
a result when one reaches the stage in history where the state 
takes the lead in controlling the destinies of man, then appears 
the modern age and with it the so-called period of mercantilism. 

As to a definition of the mercantilistic age, it may 
best be defined in terms of the state. "It is not," says 
Schmoller, "so much a doctrine of money or tariff barriers, pro- 
tective duties, or navigation laws as it is a doctrine which in- 
volves something far greater, namely, the total transformation 


of society, and its organization as well as A of the state and its 
institutions, in the replacing of a local and territorial pol- 
icy by that of the state. Now followed a struggle between 
state and district against the great nobility, the towns, the 
corporations, and provinces, the economic as well as the politi- 
cal blending of the struggle of these isolated groups into large 


wholes, the struggle for uniform measures and coinage and for a 
well ordered currency and credit*"* In other words the mercan- 
tilistic doctrine was that philosophy which centered everything 
economic and political in the hands of the state. Centraliza- 
tion was the keynote of this system, which really required poli- 
tical and economic methods to carry it out. 

In this connection, one discovers that Richelieu was 
really the first statesman to carry out this dominant idea to 
any great extent. He had a consistent policy which was plainly 
mercant ilistic, of a very enlightened sort, and he constantly 
adhered to it in spite of many hindrances. What better example 
of his efforts to centralize the government could be found than 
his appointment of the Intendants, or on the other hand his pol- 
icy towards the Huguenots? "Richelieu's razing of the fortress- 
es of the nobility has often been extolled as one of the most 
important steps toward internal freedom of intercourse within 
France." His active measures for the creation of a marine 
were among the most important contributions toward the develop- 
ment of an independent commercial policy in relation to other 
countries. "Mercantilism," says Schmoller again, "is nothing 
more than state making, in the replacing of a local territorial 
economic policy by that of the state." Who had a better policy 
than Richelieu, so far as these ideas are taken as the standard 

Schmoller, G. , The Mercantile System , N. Y. 190£, 51 

2 Ibid., 54-55. 

3 Ibid., 50-51. 


of the highest economic development? 

Even though Richelieu was, as will be shown, one of the 
leading mercantilists of his time, in fact the first in France to 
put the theories into force by means of his office, he has, never 
theless, been neglected by most economic writers of the time, and 
a just economic interpretation of his administration has thus 
been lacking. For example one writer says, "between the admin- 
istration of Sully and that of Colbert, was that of two priests, 
Richelieu and Mazarin, both wasteful of their means though from 
different motives. Colbert was the only minister who had a sys- 
tem settled, complete, and consistent in all its parts. " How- 
ever one will note that men like Schmoller, Caillet, Deschamps, 
and Pigeonneau, in their respective works covering this period, 
seem to comprehend the importance of the man in other ways be- 
sides the political. 

When one assumes the general definition of Schmoller, 
that mercantilism implies state-building, it is also necessary 
to realize that this general idea includes a series of theories 
which prevailed in various degrees in different minds. In the 

first place, a tendency towards overestimating the importance 


of possessing a large amount of the precious metals; A towards an 
undue exaltation (a) of industry which works up material over 
industry which provides it, and (b) of foreign trade over do- 
mesticj thirdly, towards attaching too high a value to a dense 
population as an element of national strength; and fourthly, 
towards invoking the action of the state in furthering 

1 Blanqui, L. A., History of Political Economy , N. Y. , 1880, 



artificially the attainments of several ends thus proposed as 
desirable."^" Thus the three earmarks of the mercantile Bystem are 
(1) Attention to commerce, whose importance was exaggerated, (2) 

Favorable balance of trade, (3) Prohibition in duties, bounties, 


and development of monopolies, etc. All these things led to the 
struggle of nations not only for political but for economic pre- 
dominance. States became as it were artificial hothouses for 


the rearing of urban industries, etc. Most of these character- 
istics will be found existing in the administration of the great 

In following out the policies of his administration 
one finds that Richelieu conformed on the whole pretty nearly to 
the common mercantile conception as portrayed above. In doing 
so he was especially fortunate in having some predecessors to 
guide him in his actions. Henry IV and his minister. Sully, 
laid the foundation or at least made the excavations for the eco- 
nomic system of that century. The economist Montchretien drew 
up in 1615 the first French work on the subject of economics. Its 
crude but timely ideas correspond to the theoretical basis for 
Richelieu's administration. It represented the thought of the 
time and so Richelieu, whether he read it or not, followed its 
precepts with astonishing accuracy. 

For such reasons, before turning to a study of the 

± Ingram, L. K. , History of Politi cal Economy , London, 1904, 

2 Ibid., 50. 

Ibid., 39. 


economic ideas and accomplishments of the Cardinal, which estab- 
lished the firm foundations of the economic system of France for 
the century, it seems best to consider briefly the activities of 
Henry IV and Sully, and then the work of Montchretien. For by 
that means one can understand the basis upon which Richelieu 
built, and just what he contributed towards the completion of the 
common conception held by all, a strong centralized economic unit, 
namely the state. 


Chapter III 

The age of Henry IV and Sully contained the rise in 
France of a consciousness of the economic side of life. People 
were not really aware of its presence in the fifteenth century, 
but it was there. The progress of public peace and well being, 
the influence of the Italian custom, had given to the commerce 
of luxuries a start hitherto unknown. The age of discoveries 
had awakened the enterprise of the Norman mariners who began 
following in the tracks of the Portuguese and Spanish navigators 
about the same time as the English.^- Thus France began to as- 
sume a place of economic as well as political importance in the 
affairs of the world. As a consequence the men at the head of 
the government, whether they be kings or prime ministers, began 
to consider and solve matters which were primarily of economic 
importance, on that basis alone, and began to be influenced in 
their political policies by the economic results to be obtained 

Louis XI, at the close of the fifteenth century, 
started the economic growth of France especially by his central- 
ization and unification of the government. But it was left to 
Henry IV and Sully, who came in after the religious wars, at the 

Pigeonneau, II, 54-55. 


end of the sixteenth century, to make the first direct efforts 
to solve the commercial problems confronting the French nation. 

The first problem to be met was the proposition of se- 
curing internal peace. The edict of Nantes settled the matter 
so far as the religious strife was concerned. The nobles were 
also subdued by a combination of payments and force. Thus in 
a short time both Henry and Sully were ready to strengthen the 
economic position of France. Now at this time we have the pecu- 
liar situation where a king and his helper both had their own 
ideas on the subject and tried to carry them out regardless of the 
opinion of the other party. For example, Henry IV tried to make 
France, and especially Paris, the artistio and industrial center 
of the world, much to the disgust of Sully, who favored the en- 
couragement of agriculture. 1 As a consequence industry and ag- 
riculture underwent temporary expansion at this time. 

In addition to the growth of industry and agriculture, 
commerce was restored. One writer says that this was the best 
part of the economic program of Henry IV, for the restoration of 
commerce was the complement and the condition of the regeneration 
of labor. In other words France began to assume the position 
of an important nation in the commercial world, and this growth 
was not to be only on the internal side. 

Henry IV and Sully saw the importance of increased 
foreign commerce, colonies, and thus of a greater marine. Steps 
were taken in all these directions, but the untimely death of 

Pigeonneau, II, £90. 
Ibid., 290-291. 


Henry IV in 1610 prevented the laying of the solid foundation 

for these plans. 

The thrifty, though not novel, financial policy of Sully 

extinguished the debt of the nation and left a balance in the 


treasury. Direct attempts A were made to centralize the govern- 
ment, weaken the nobility, and make France a strong absolute 
nation on the economic side all cling to the common mercant ilistic 

However, one can not designate either Henry IV or Sully 
as an ideal exponent of the doctrine of mercantilsm. There was 
as yet no theoretical exposition of this commercial doctrine, 
and neither Henry IV nor Sully left any evidence that they had 
any conception of an economic doctrine which should guide them 
in their work. They seem to do only those things which the con- 
dition of the times required. For example the progress of dis- 
coveries made them desire a part in this work. The building of 
large marines made them desire to construct a French navy. They 
had no general idea which would be defined as mercant ilistic . In 
fact they disagreed on many points vital to the doctrine. For 
example Sully was for freedom of trade. He realized that some 
countries were best able to raise certain products. 1 Another 
writer of the time, named Laffemas, believed that home industries 
should be built up, to the exclusion of others. The king com- 
promised on both ideas. Also one must admit that the Utopian 


idea of universal peace or A league of nations fostered by one of 
these men is scarcely a doctrine which would come from a man 

Pigeonneau, II, 314-317. 


dominated by the national self-centered doctrines of mercantilism. 
So, in some ways, Henry IV and Sully were ahead of the mercantil- 
ists, while in other ways they were not up to the advanced ideas 
of that philosophy. It took two men to try to meet the difficul- 
ties confronting France at that time and in doing so they followed 
no set theory exactly, nor did they succeed in obtaining any im- 
portant permanent result. However, there was one important con- 
sequence of their accomplishments and that was the economic work 
of Montchretien entitled Le Traite a 1 ' Eeonomie Politique . He 
realized that these rules were to a certain extent carrying out 
the doctrine of a logical economic scheme and as a consequence 
he wrote the first theoretical treatise on the subject. Con- 
sideration of this will be deferred until the next chapter. 

In considering this brief review of the accomplishments 
of Henry IV and Sully one might say that they laid, in a more or 
less haphazard and incomplete way, the foundations which Riche- 
lieu and Colbert were to complete or ruin. One writer aptly 
sums up the work of Henry IV as follows: "He did his best to 
facilitate the downfall of the old system (feudal) and to en- 
courage the new. He tried to remove the shackles upon industry 
and commerce; to improve the finances and found trans -Atlantic 
colonies, etc. He looked forward to a common European arbi- 
tration agreement, of a universal peace, and to accomplish this 
which might be by others defined as a policy of the balance of 
power, he set in motion the movement against the forces of re- 
tardation, namely Austria and Spain." 1 In other words the 


Bridges, 25-26. 


policy of Henry IV was directed in one way along the line of in- 
ternational relations, and thus, while attention was given to the 
building up of the state, it was not the central theme of his ad- 
ministration. However, all of these excellent and well planned 
policies were ended when Henry IV was killed in 1610, and four- 
teen years of economic, as well as political stagnation, were to 

When this great man died his task was far from achieved! 
Another writer says that "the death of Henry IV was deplorable 
in that the brilliant impulse which he had impressed on the eco- 
nomic life of the country were stopped and existed no more."^ 
However this was not so, for one can find in the treatise of 
Montchretien a clear presentation of the doctrine of the time, 
and this work had a definite influence on the economic future 
of France. Yet, in a practical sense, the tasks of Henry IV 
were incomplete. "The peasants existed but that was all; credit 
and commerce reestablished itself with difficulty; the systems 
of roads and canals were only outlined; colonial experiences only 
begun and habits of order, of economy, and of honesty, which 
Sully had introduced into the financial administration, had not 
yet become traditions, etc." 

It would be interesting to speculate upon what might 
have happened if Richelieu had succeeded Henry IV in 1610. But 

Pigeonneau, II, 350-351. 

2 * 

Gouraud, C. M. , Historie de la Politique Commercial de la 
Prance et son influence sur le progress de la*"" Richesse Publique , 
Paris, T854, 174-175. 


Pigeonneau, II, 351-352. 


as it actually happened, the government declined greatly under 
Marie de Medici. She was not able to understand or follow the 
good policy of her husband* The money saved by Sully was spent, 
taxes went up, colonies and the marine were neglected, and the new 
colonial policy was saved only through the energy and ability of 

There was an attempt to remedy the unfortunate condi- 
tions by a meeting of the Estates General in 1614. Called to 
establish good order by honorable methods, protection was to be 
given to the poor people as well as aid to the rich. Richelieu 
was there as a member of the clergy. As the orator of that 
body he mentioned no reform. However the nobles desired treat- 
ment befitting a nobleman and the merchants or middle class asked 
for reforms in behalf of the overburdened poor people. Some 
significant demands were made in the cahiers, as for example, 
the establishment of a new council near the person of the king, 
besides persons of blood, etc. The suspension of the sale of of- 
fices and the right of paulette was desired, the establishment 

of a commission to look over the finances, and lastly, the sup- 


pression of pensions as soon as possible. The king promised to 
carry these propositions out to the best of his ability. One 
thus sees that four years after the death of Henry IV a reaction 
against the poor government of the time and the unfortunate eco- 
nomic conditions of the age was taking place. All this had an 

Pigeonneau, II, 351-352. 

fo Isambert, Recueil General des Anciennes Lois ffrancaise s, 
Paris, 1829, XVI, 52-59. 


important influence upon the problems confronting Richelieu, then 
a member of the Estates General. 

Indeed when one studies the effect of the mal admini- 
stration, he sees that the foreigners during this period took a 


place on the markets which rendered tlie A still more sensible of 
the distance which separated France fromthem. "Disorder stopped 
any progress, Concini ruined the finances, Delor/nes had all he 
could do to supervise and put down the revolts of the nobles and 
Protestants and, as the inevitable voice of the people appeared, 
the good intentions of the monarchy went up in smoke." 1 At this 
critical time in French history arose one of those few men to 
whom it is given to modify largely the life of humanity, to in- 
crease and aid the speed of progress and to hasten the arrival of 
a new civilization. That man was Armand Duplessis, at first 
bishop of Luzon and later Cardinal de Richelieu. At first a 
favorite of the queen, the unfortunate administration paved the 
way for him. In 1624 he assumed control of affairs and "Louis 
XIII," says one writer, "not void of insight, not without a 
sense of duty, but timid, melancholy, frivolous, pietistic, 
equally unambitious and incapable of power, handed over the helm 

to this man and from that time until 1642 Richelieu was sole dic- 


tat or of France." Thus it was the duty of that great man to 
obliterate the misfortunes of the immediate past and build upon 
the foundations laid by Henry IV and Sully. Before considering 


Gouraud, 174-175. 


Bridges, 27. 


how he went about doing this, it is desirable to consider the 
work of Mont Chretien, which had a strong influence upon the policy 
of Richelieu. 



Chapter IV 


Montchretien seems to have been the only French con- 
tributor to economic theory in the period. A brief survey of 
his work will lead to an acquaintance with the rise of commercial 
doctrines in France, and will reveal a good economic picture of 
France in the early seventeenth century, as well as of other na- 
tions at that time. It will appear also that Richelieu was 
largely dominated by the views expressed by Montchretien either 
directly or indirectly as being typical of the age. 

As said before, 1 the death of Henry IV meant an in- 
dustrial crisis both of a commercial and a monetary nature. 
Troubles which he had settled appeared again. Foreign states 
disregarded treaties with France, excluded French commerce, sunk 
French vessels, and imposed unfair duties upon French vessels 
entering their ports, in spite of the privileges they had in 
French harbors. At such a time Montchretien wrote his book. 
He based his ideas upon the accomplishments of Henry IV. Riche- 
lieu and Colbert in turn carried out the industrial and commer- 
cial conceptions depicted in his work. He saw the trouble and 

^ See page 18. , 

2 Montchretien, Antoyne de. Trait e de 1 'E conomie Politique . 
Paris, 1889, Introduction, LXZXIX. 


suggested the remedy. Another event has a certain signif icance» 
seeing that it took place about the time that Montchretien wrote 
his treatise. It was the meeting of the Estates General in 

The result of this gathering was not of much account. 
Richelieu, in his Memoirs, says that the assembly ended as it 
begun, by doing nothing of advantage for either the king or the 
public. "It was a financial burden in itself, "he claims, 
"while the corruption it opposed still continued."^ - However he 
fails to mention the fact that the king promised to carry out 
the reforms asked by the assembly and failed to do so. But the 
interesting things about the whole event are that it indicates a 
reaction against the bad conditions of the time, that Richelieu 
was present at the meeting and thus realized what was wrong, and, 
finally, that Montchretien published his book at that time, in 
which he planned a solution for the troubles. The Cardinal 
must have been strongly influenced by these tv/o events and his 
later actions indicate that he was. Thus, at the very begin- 
ning of his career the economic problems were placed before him 
alongside of the beneficial, practical beginnings of Henry IV 
and Sully, so that he could not help but be influenced by all 
these things. It is important, indeed, that the ideas were 
furnished by an assembly of the people, and by the first French 
economist. Surely the modern world in a commercial sense, both 
practically and theoretically, began for France at that period. 

^ Richelieu, Cardinal de, Memoires , (Petitot Edition), 
Paris, 1821, X, 383. 


Mont Chretien was very careful to develop his conception 
of a paternalistic form of government. "The education of the 
nation," he says, "is the same as in the family."" 1 " However, 
there were some liberal conceptions in this treatment, as he rec- 
ognized the development of the third estate and a certain amount 


of individualism. Furthermore, he maintained that the social 
organization extended beyond the interest of indix r iduals and the 
family, of the locality and the province, or even the particular 
interest of the nation. This idea involves a multiplicity of 
relations between the different divisions of government and ter- 
ritories, which only the great men by their genius can compre- 
hend, end by their position and resources can justify so as to 

increase the general prosperity, or, aided by science and guided 

according to 

by the experience of individuals, can by practice justify, £he 
theories of political economy. In other words he said that the 
situation called for a great man, and this individual in the per- 
son of Richelieu presently took advantage of the opportunity, and 
indeed carried out the major part of the program outlined by 
Montchretien. A brief outline of the leading ideas of this 
early economist may be cited, with relation to similar ideas or 
practices on the part of Richelieu. 

He begins by describing to the king the excellent re- 
sources and situation of Prance. Richelieu in his Testament 
Politi que repeated Montchretien' s ideas almost verbatim. He 
then complains that France lacks men to invent and to do. Many 

^ Montchretien, Introduction, LV. 


Ibid., Introduction LV. 
3 Ibid., Introduction XXV. 


of her men go to Spain, England, Germany, and Flanders. Riche- 
lieu had this same idea, as will be shown later. He then advo- 
cates the building up of agriculture and manufactures, so im- 
portant to the strength of a nation. The whole tone of the book 
is to "build up the power of the French nation with the rich re- 
sources available," — a true mercantilistic doctrine. He advises 
the king to study the commercial systems of England and Holland 
as accounting for their remarkable growth. Richelieu is con- 
stantly referring to the development of Holland. Montchretien 
continuously has the interests of France at heart and does not 
consider outside interests as Henry IV did. The Cardinal again 
conforms with his view in this respect. Montchretien recog- 
nized both free trade and protection as combined and not separ- 
ate. "Send your surplus abroad," he says, "but keep what you 
need and protect it." To carry out this idea both external and 
internal trade have important roles. However, it is with for- 
eign commerce that he is chiefly concerned, as was also the case 
with Richel ieu. 

He constantly opposes the unfair commercial relations 
with England. "The severe treatment of foreigners started by 
England resulted in a commercial and industrial monetary crisis. 
Montchretien knew this, and opposed any concession to that coun- 
try except on the basis of reciprocity" "^In other words, both 
Montchretien and Richelieu believed that England should be grant- 
ed the same privileges in France as she allowed the French in 
England. He believed in treating others as they treat you* 

Montchretien takes notice of t.he importance of commerce. 

■ L Hontchre'tien, Introduction XXV-XXVI. 


"All society, generally speaking," he says, "seems to be composed 
of government and commerce."^ Thus the merchants are an import- 
ant class of people. The stress laid upon commerce by Richelieu 
will be shown later. Both claim that gold and silver are impor- 
tant, as they supply the necessities for all men; and it is inter- 
esting to note that both men in their ideas concerning commerce, 
industry, etc., constantly refer to the public good, whose inter- 
ests they claim to follow. 

Montchretien devotes especial attention to commercial 
relations with England. That country he claims limits the use 
of the products of French industries in England, for her own 
benefit, while obtaining fair treatment for her own goods in 


Prance. Everything possible is done to ruin French commerce 
by extra taxes, etc. England desires to get control of naviga- 
tion. One thus can see that the commercial rivalry between 
France and England was coming to the front at this time, and it 
was actually to be one of the first problems confronting the 

Montchretien, on the other hand, admires Holland and 
desires France to be on good terms with her. The fact that 
they are so near and have mutual interests makes it best to be 
on friendly terms. Like Richelieu, he has a great admiration 
for what the Hollanders have accomplished. Both of them wish 
France to study her and imitate what she has done rather than 

Montchretien, 137-146. 

2 Ibid., 196-197. 

3 Ibid., 207-208. 


actually compete with her. 

As to Spain, one notes that Mont Chretien complains 
about the failure to treat French traders in Spain as Spanish 
traders are treated in France. He says, "French subjects are 
not allowed or permitted in Spain except if they wish to enrich 
the king of Spain. She is jealous of her colonies and taxes 
French traders unfairly." As a result, he claims that it is 
the duty of the French to see that they are treated justly by the 
Spanish, as the Dutch have seen for their own citizens. "For 
if Holland could do this, can we not?" It will lead to the aug- 
mentation, the welfare J and repose of France, and the employment 
and use of its most courageous subjects, who would like nothing 
better than to undertake long and difficult duties. By author- 
izing and protecting the trade of France, this policy will in- 
crease it. Spanish ships have orders to destroy all French ves- 
sels found on the ocean, whether they are Huguenot or Catholic. 
Thus it is the task of the king to restore the sea, which is com- 
mon and free to all the world, and on which the French have a 
natural and legitimate right. How well this part of his work 
was carried out by Richelieu, who believed in these ideas, will 
be brought out later on. It may be added that no better proof 
for the early conscious rivalry between England, Spain, and 
France can be obtained than in these chapters by Montchr etien, 
an enlightened contemporary. 

Turning to the Levant, he urges the development of 
silk manufactures at home, instead of obtaining these articles 

1 Mont Chretien, 208-209. 


from the Levant, a wasteful method because of the heavy duties 
imposed by the Levantine countries and Italy. He refers to the 
attempts of England to f orm a company in the Levant, and after 
affirming the fact that Russia is a new outlet for trade, he 
turns to a discussion of colonization. He was a strong advocate 
of efforts along this line. He advised the formation of com- 
panies like the Dutch East India company, (the one formed in 
1595). "Such companies," he said, "would make France strong and 
powerful. ■ 

His treatment of financial conditions in France was 
based on the cardinal principle of preserving peace and quiet in 
the land and being fair with the people. He said that there were 
great riches in the land which would aid the true finances of the 
country. They were wheat, salt, wine, cloth, and silk. "This 
country is so flourishing and abundant in all that one can desire 
that it is not necessary to borrow from one's neighbors." 2 It 
is not at all the abundance of gold and silver, or the quantity 
of pearls and diamonds which makes the state wealthy, It is the 
resources of things necessary to maintain life* etc. In other 
words Montchretien had absolute faith that the resources of 
France were such as to solve all financial troubles if used prop- 
erly. Both Richelieu and the economist had a sublime faith in 
the ability of the French nation to overcome all commercial odds 
by this means. Both desired to conserve the people and make 
them happy. Just as the owner of a large plantation desires to 

Montchretien, 248-255. 
2 Ibid., 237-244. 


build it up to its greatest extent, both economically and physi- 
cally, so these two great men desired to build up Prance commer- 
cially and also to increase the happiness of the people, not only 
by internal means but by external additions of colonies to be ob- 
tained by the development of navigation. 

Montchretien then begins to emphasize the importance of 
navigation and a marine. He cites the success of Spain, Holland, 
and Portugal by this means and also the growing strength of the 
English on the sea. "It behooves France to begin at once and 
develop colonies wherever she can. This would aid much in 
strengthening the unity of that nation."* 

Now in order to put down the rivals of France not only 
a strong army but a strong navy was needed. Then like Richelieu, 
he discusses the geographical position of France with its two 
oceans, etc. He urges the development of the admiralty. Again, 
like Richelieu, he cites the success of Holland on the sea. "If 
Henry IV had used his money to build up harbors instead of the 
useless canal de Braire, our commerce would be much greater 
than it is at present." To build up commerce and a strong ma- 
rine, and thereby make a strong state, was constantly in his 
mind. At this point it may be added that both Montchretien and 
Richelieu advised the king to encourage the building of boats by 
financial support or to sell some vessels himself, to be used 
for trade outside of the kingdom. The very fact that the Cardi- 
nal as soon as he came into office turned his attention toward 


Montchretien, 283. 
2 Ibid., 306-308. 


colonization, the building up of a marine, and commerce in gen- 
eral, indicates that he was strongly influenced by similar views, 
perhaps obtained from Montchretien 's treatise. 

The conclusion of the work deals with the duties of the 
king. "He must possess the friendship of his people and work 
for their good. All must bear the burden, rich and poor must 
share it alike. "^ The poor must be aided and a census taken of 
them to find out the condition of the people, and what number 
could go to war, work on roads, or go to the colonies.^ By this 
census one can find out who works and who does not work. The 
latter can be banished and all thus will work for a common end. 
"This," he says, "is a government according to justice and rea- 
son." This plan seems to be rather advanced and the fact that 
it is being adopted now would indicate that Montchretien 's views 
do not all belong to the past. 

The economist compliments the king for convening the 
Estates General. He advised him to aid the people, appoint 
good men to office, and reduce the pensions, whenever possible. 
In other words the king should strive to strengthen France not 
only externally but internally as well. The king must look 
into the receipts and the expenditures of money. He must see 
that it is spent wisely, that all unnecessary officials are de- 
posed and good honest officials put in their places. The wise 
and fair administration of the law is also asked. In other 
words Montchretien closes his work by advising the king to 


Montchretien, 336-34 9. 
2 Ibid., 352-354. 


remove by reform the internal troubles wlaich confronted Richelieu, 


and which affairs he battled with in connection with external A 
throughout his administration. Montchretien thus states to us 
the economic problems which confronted the Cardinal, and the next 
step is an investigation of the ideas and accomplishments of 
Richelieu with regard to those problems. That he did not suc- 
ceed in all respects, is to be expected. Montchretien, Riche- 
lieu, and Colbert may have had intentions to bring about the en- 
couragement of agriculture by lighter taxes for the farmers, and 
to aid industry by the importation of raw materials. "But," 
says one writer, "these new ideas had not yet penetrated into 
the mass of the nation. The clergy and the nobility were in- 
different; tho me rcliants and artisans did not have a general con- 
ception of the economic interests of France; the official class 
were back in the sixteenth century of economic ideas.""'" This 
in a large sense explains many of the apparent failures in the 
realization of the economic ideas set forth by Montchretien. 
Such was the importance of the work, however, that it seems un- 
likely that it would fail to be read by Richelieu or to in- 
fluence him in his administration. 

The similarity of the ideas of the two men is striking. 
Both claimed that they were actuated by the purpose of "the pub- 
lic welfare", as being the greatest aim of the king. Both 
realized the importance of the three estates. Richelieu empha- 
sized that of the nobles, and Montchretien the third estate. 
They both desired to increase the riches of the people by means 

Pigeonneau, II, 363. 


of the development of the arts and manufactures, the increase of 
navigation, and the re establishment of commerce, which was per- 
ishing day by day in the kingdom.^ One cannot help but notice 
the similarity between the introduction of Richelieu's Testa - 
ment Politique and Montchretien' s work. Both bring out the dis- 
orders of th9 time and the remedies to be undertaken in order to 
enrich the crown and the state. "En I'estat aussi bien que en 
la famille," says Montchretien, "c'est un heur mesle de grand - 
issimi que de mesnoyes bien les hommes selon leur propre et par- 

ticuliere inclination." "Richelieu," says the editor, "repeats 


these words in his Testament Politique . " There seems to be no 
doubt in his mind that Richelieu did read the work. "Richelieu," 
he said, "was the deputy of the clergy at the Estates General 
when Montchretien published his treatise, so not only the indus- 
trial and commercial measures of the Cardinal, but also the max- 
ims on commerce, the marine, and manufactures which one finds in 
his TeBtament Politique . reflects the spirit of Montchretien." 

Montchretien, 3, note. An interesting comparison might be 
made of this quotation of Montchretien ' 8 with one of Richelieu's, 
regarding the government. "Si la nature des disordres ou vous 
vivons maintenant portait que vous fissiez deux ref ormati ons dif- 
fer entes, l'une a l'appetit du commun, et 1' autre par les vrayes 
maximes d'etat et de police que 1' usage des affaires vous ap- 
prend je ne doute point que le semblable n'arrivast." 

Richelieu: "II semble, fait dire. Richelieu a v Louis XIII 
dans le preamble de la declarations de 1641, que 1 'establissernent 
des monarches estant f onde' par le government a un seul, cet or- 
dre est comme l'ams que anime v et que leur inspire autant de 
force et de vigueur qu'a'st de perfection." 

g - 

Montchretien, Introduction LXXIX. 

Ibid., Introduction XX. 


between the views of the two would indicate that the Cardinal 
read the work. The letters and memoirs of Richelieu prove that 
he was interested in these problems, and the fact that he favored 
literary efforts of all kinds, and would be likely to read a trea- 
tise dedicated to the Queen Mother and her son Louis XIII, 
strengthens the probability of his having read the book. The 
important deduction to be made is the existence of a general eco- 
nomic tendency in France when Richelieu came to power. The mer- 
cantilistic doctrine with the state as a center was the natural 
commercial philosophy for a statesman to follow. And while this 
statement might seem to detract from the originality of Richelieu's 
beliefs, this is not so when one looks into the matter. ffor, al- 
though a man may not conceive a view, it takes a certain amount 
of genius and originality to make the practical application. To 
do this for the ideas of Montchretien required economic states- 
manship of a high grade. An inquiry may now be made whether 
the Cardinal possessed that quality together with his political 
capacity. In other words was Cardinal Richelieu not only a 
political but also an economic statesman? 


Other writers have similar views on this issue, For 
example, one maintains that Richelieu's theories concerning com- 
merce and navigation were not original. "He borrowed or derived 
them from documents of the reign of Henry IV. Of which the ca- 
hiers of the assembly of notables of 1617, and 1627, and the Es- 
tates General of 1614 were one source and Mont Chretien's Traite 
d 'Economie Politique was another, from which the Cardinal obtained 
many of his views. Another writer brings out the fact that 
Montchretien provided the colonial formula for Richelieu to fol- 
io?/. "As regards colonial companies," he says, "Montchretien re- 
calls the methods followed by Holland and England, forestalling 
Richelieu or rather giving him a formula." 2 (He refers to the 
Cardinal's speech at the assembly of notables, to be taken up 
later. ) Montchretien claimed that there was no better way to 
carry on colonies than by societies such as Holland used, or a 
council of many individuals instead of one individual effort. So 
colonial exploitation by privileged companies is the means advised 
by the economist. He is thus in that respect the inspirer of the 
political economy of Richelieu. He has formulated all the eco- 
nomic principles of the seventeenth century. He is the first and 
the most penetrating of the seventeenth century economists. ®e 
shall see how Picholieu took up many of his ideas and tried to 
carry them into execution. 

That the Cardinal ever read the book is not known be- 
cause he has never, so far as can be ascertained, mentioned the 
name of Montchretien in hi s writings. However the similarity 

1 Pigeonneau, II, 381-382. 

2 Leschamps, L. , Histoire de la Quest ion Coloniale en France , 
Paris. 1891, 61-&2. ~~ 


Chapter V 


Richelieu from the first undertook the tasks confront- 
ing both the king and himself with intense seriousness. Domi- 
nated by his paternalistic conception of the king as the father 
of the people, responsible only to God, he desired to do every- 
thing he could to enable the king to build up the state of which 
he was the sole earthly owner. Loyal to the individual who 
could alone represent the French nation, which he loved so well, 
the Cardinal at the beginning pledged his fidelity, saying, "I 
will do all that will be possible, for, by following the good in- 
clinations of the king, one receives an assured repose, the fruit 
of the service which I render his majesty according to my duty."l 
In his Testament Politique he recalls his first ambitions when 
called to office* "As soon as your majesty was pleased to ad- 
mit me into the management of your affairs, I resolved to use my 
utmost efforts to facilitate your great designs, so useful to 
the state and glorious to your person." One sees from the 
start the constant strife to obtain all advantages possible for 
the king and the state, and no better illustration can be given 

1 D'Avene^, G. , Documents , Instructions Diplomatigues . etc . , 
Paris, 1853-1877, III, 159. 

Testament Polit ique , 1, 8. 


of the unselfish interest of the man apart from personal gain, 

(even though he did leave a large estate) than his constant fi- 

latter 1 s 

delity to his ruler and the A welfare. Of course a strong nation 
would "benefit the Cardinal personally, yet his interest in the 
future of the state is the best evidence as to the strength of the 
loyal and patriotic element in his character. "If my spirit," 
he says, "which will appear in these memoirs after my death, can 
contribute anything toward the regulation of this great state in 
the management of which your majesty has been pleased to give to 
me a greater share than I deserve, I will think myself infinitely 
happy. In other words, he was a man who looked ahead, and un- 

derneath his subtle flattery one can see his genuine desire that 
the kingdom should prosper even after his death. His great 
confidence in the future success of his policies is nowhere bet- 
ter illustrated than in the above quotation. 

Richelieu did, to be sure, look after his own personal 
fortune. His "Will and Testament" proves that he left great 


wealth. It also illustrates his own personal commercial abil- 
ity. Most of his money, land, etc., was obtained by gifts from 

the king. He refused however many attempts of the rulers to 


bestow pensions on him, A indeed maintained that at the court 
the minister must not think of making a personal fortune but 
must plan only for the development of the welfare of the state. 

Testament Politi que I, Introduction, 4-5. 

2 Memoirs , X, 122. 

3 Letters, III, 204. 


It is clear that the Cardinal looked upon his office as meaning 
something other than a mere money making proposition and a means 
of obtaining high honor. He certainly possessed the idealistic 
unselfish "beliefs of a true French patriot. Yet Richelieu was 
too practical not to see the great gains in the larger sense 
which a strong nation and a powerful government would bring to 
him. He realized the value of money, and the wealth of his es- 
tates indicates that. Furthermore, he was enough of a man of 
the world to leave the bulk of his property to his relatives, 
with the exception of a little left to the king and his personal 
servants. This same practical method was followed by Richelieu 
in his relations with the king. 

When he came into power in 1624, he had worked out a 
definite program which the king was to follow. 1 On the economic 
side it was based on the mercantilistic system of a paternal gov- 
ernment. External and internal reforms were to be based on 
clear economic conceptions, similar to those of Mont Chretien. 
But he realized that before he could do anything, he must be 
supreme in the council of the king. 2 This was accomplished, as 
is shown in the letter issued by the king granting him the title 
of first minister. In other words, the Cardinal desired to be 
the private secretary and adviser of this ruler, who in theory 
alone guided and protected the destinies of his subjects. 

In carrying out his office, Richelieu clearly recog- 
nizes the tv/o elements which he must consider and whose welfare 

Caillet, 27. 

Testament Politique , I, 8-9. 


he must constantly promote, namely, the king and the people, or 
the king and the state (including the people). "The greatest 
obligation of a man is the saving of his soul," he says, "the 
most important obligation of the king is the repose of his sub- 
jects, the conservation of the state in its entirety, and the wel- 
fare of his government; for which reason, it is necessary to put 
down so severely the injuries done to the state, that the severity 
of the vengeance will prevent a reoccurrence. The repose of the 
state is the dominant thing." 1 The welfare of the state, polit- 
ically and economically, is the main theme of all his writings. 

Indeed, he says that the king has the right to do anything, even 


though it is against religion, to save his state. No better 
expression can be given of the political and economic conceptions 
of Richelieu. 'The welfare of the state, a true mercantilistic 
idea, predominates even to the exclusion of religious opposition. 
Of course both economic and political means are to be used to ob- 
tain this desire. "The Prince," he says, "must look out for the 
welfare of the state and the public welfare as a whole." 3 In 
other words he must look out for not only the political improve- 
ment of the state, but for its economic and social development 
also. One even finds a tinge of the conception of a larger 
field than the mere state, when he says that the king must be 
liberal but only at the right time. He must reward merit. For 

Memoirs, XXII, 15. 

2 Ibid., XI, 285. 

3 Letters, III, 184-185. 


that not only does the public but the entire world a service of 

which the reward to the state is only a part return of the huge 


The works of Richelieu reveal a supposed fear of the in- 
ability of the king to look out for the country. The reason for 
this state of mind is clear when one remembers the political weak- 
nesses which existed through the youth and ineffectiveness of the 
king, as well as the unfortunate economic condition of France in 
1624. The king's power was in a had way. "Indeed some people 
even brought up the idea of electing a rul er. But the majority 
with Hichelieu believed that the absolute power of the state was 
best for the welfare of the country. He made the king the in- 
carnation of public safety and interest." To bring this about 
the political and economic affairs should be centralized in the 
hands of a few, which meant the building up of a strong state on 
the economic side, according to mercant ilistio means. The Cardi- 
nal in his Testament Politique has clearly stated his position as ( 
related to the king when he says that the king must act according 
to reason and public interest. In this respect he should choose 
men to carry out those things he could not do. By their working | 
together, he had no doubt that the greatest good for France would 
result.^ "For," he says, "nothing ought to divert us from a 
good enterprise. Y/e must do all we can to carry through those 

Letters, III, 196. 
Caillet, 6. 

Testament Politique , I, 127-199. 



things we undertake with reason." 1 "But whatever the king does, 
he must always have this in mind, that the great things are the 
important things, and the little ones are unworthy of your cares 
and thoughts. "^ Which is certainly economical advice in one 
sense of the term. 

In conclusion one can not fail to see the common, 
though unconscious, economic conceptions of that time which domi- 
nated Richelieu in his ideas concerning his duties as a minister, 
and those of the king his master. It is a mercantilistic state 
he pictures, with the king as its earthly owner. Therefore it 
is the chief concern of those who govern this piece of property 
to see that the people who work on it, namely the subjects, are 
taken care of; that their welfare is aided, and also that the 
state in a national sense is to be developed to its fullest ex- 
tent. By doing so a strong state would be created, a credit 
to its king and its ministers, whose constant aim must be the 
welfare of France. 3 The means by which this was to be attained 
can be well taken up after a brief discussion of the economic 
status of the people as viewed by Richelieu. 

Testament Politique , J, 235. 

2 Ibid., I, 195. 

3 Ibid., I, 228. 


Chapter VI 


A. The Nobility 
Richelieu, following the traditional French scheme, di- 
vided the people of France into three classes and considered all 
individuals as related to one of these orders.^ They were the 
nobility, the clergy, and the third estate, which included all 
the rest of the people. However one must understand that the 
Cardinal looked upon all these classes as constituting one people^ 
and when he attacked any class or sect of individuals , such as the 
Huguenots, he did so for the public good, that is, the benefit of 
all. As a consequence it was said that while the general public 
praised him, individuals hated him and tried to bring about his 

fall. "Entire provinces praised him, while factions plotted 

against him." In other words Richelieu constantly had in mind 
the public interest and the general economical and political wel- 
fare, as against the rights politically or commercially of cer- 
tain individuals. His efforts to reform the finances and to 
build up commerce and colonies were in general terms, the lines 

Testament Politique , I, 182. 
Memoirs, XXIV, 191. 


along which he triad to aid the people as a whole, instead of par- 
ticular classes, Contralization of the government was the only 
efficient way by which the people comld be aided. His efforts 
to bring this about illustrate only too well the economic and po- 
litical purposes involved. Yet in treating the people as a whole 
he had to consider their various classes and the rights due each.* 
He recognized the system as being for the best and endeavored to 
correct classes and strengthen the privileges of each class. But 
in doing so he constantly had in view the welfare of the state as 
a whole. The class in which he placed the highest hopes were 
the nobles, who he believed were destined to play the leading 
part in the destinies of France. 

In his treatment of this section of the population of 
his native land, the Cardinal had constantly in mind the welfare 
of the state. This is shown by the fact that he confronted and 
attempted to solve two problems with respect to them. Namely, 
first to prevent them from being politically independent of the 
central government, and secondly, to make them useful members of 
society and the state. What he did with respect to depriving 
the nobility of political rights will be taken up in the next 
chapter. But one might add, that when Richelieu ordered in 1626 
the razing of the castles and chateaus of the nobles, a measure 
which was the outcome of his opposition to the separate political 
power of the nobility, (which began as far back as 1617) 3 he 

1 Testament Politique , I, 61. 

2 Isambert, R ecueil General des Anciennes Lois Prancaises 
etc., 29 vols., Paris, 1829, XVI, 192-193. 


Memoirs , II, 6. 


changed the entire economic policy of France, not only in the in- 
crease of internal freedom of trade but in the changed position 
of the noble class. ^ They were no longer independent of the 
central government socially, politically, or economically. They 
were subject to the will of the state. This was just a part of 
the plan of Richelieu "to put down the turbulent nobles and ob- 
tain by that means repose for the common people, prosperity for 


the king, and increased grandeur for the monarchy." 

However, when Richelieu had deprived this class of peo- 
ple of their independent powers, he did not oppress them and try 
to push them down into the lower estate. On the contrary he 
favored them. He looked at them not only from a political but 
also from an economic point of view; and saw in them "one of the 
principal sinev;a of the state, capable of contributing much to its 
conservation and establishment." 3 In fact he and the king shared 

the same views, for the latter called them "the right arms of 

the state." , 

Richelieu tried to make definite use of the nobles. He 
saw that they could fit into certain positions, especially those 
which were rewarded with many honors. "His ability to converse 
with the world, etc. - - - - all adapt him to certain functions." 

Rambaud, Civilisation Francais ,I,Vol. I, 574. 

2 Memoirs, XI, 244-256. 

Testament Politique , I, 141. 

4 Me r cure Francois , XVII, 65. 

5 Testament Politique , I, 141, etc. 



So that if Richelieu wanted to deprive them of their political 
right to oppose the government, he also desired to find a method 
by which they could live with dignity and serve their country both 
in a political and economical sense. 

However it was not only Richelieu but the nobles them- 
selves who desired a part in building up France, In a statement 
of their condition presented to the king by the assembly of no- 
tables in 1627, one obtains a fair idea of their desires. The 
exposition begins with an account of the distressing condition of 
the nobles, who were without any power or purpose. They then 
ask for the reestablishment of the nobility "as the greatest 
power to upbuild France, and to remedy its miserable condition." 
Mention is made of their former splendor and service. They are 
now in poverty and without power and are oppressed. Unwarranted 
abuses by some of their number (by many as a matter of fact) has 
deprived them of the administration of justice, finance, and all 
the councils of the king. "Aid us, and put us in our former 
place, and the kingdom will gain thereby and your reign will be 
more glorious and have a greater splendor."^" However they showed 
their selfishness when they asked for control of governmental, 
church, and army offices and other unreasonable favors. The 
fundamental thing was that they desired a more active part in the 
government. "Herein is where Richelieu erred," says one writer, 
"in not giving them a more important part in the administration 
of the government, as a way of safe-guarding the right and well 

Mercure Franco-is , XII, 40-46. 


being of the nobility." 1 Yet, judging from their demand it is 
doubtful whether the noble ought to have been considered. As a 
matter of fact Richelieu did make efforts to use the nobles for 
the welfare of the state. 

Richelieu devotes a section in his Testament Politique 
to the different means to aid the nobility and melee them subsist 
honorably. "They must be respected, " he says, "as one of the 
principal sinews of the state, capable of contributing much to- 
ward its preservation and settlement. They have been injured 
by vast numbers of business men, who have been elevated at their 
expense. It is my duty to protect them against any attempts of 
such individuals. Yet the people under the nobility must be 
protected from certain offices. It is a common fault in those 
that are born in a certain order to exert violence against the 
people to whom God seems rather to have given them arms with 
which to get their livelihood rather than to defend themselves."^ 
In this statement one sees the entire attitude of Richelieu. He 
did not oppose the nobility because he had any prejudice against 
them, but he did stand against them in so far as they were a det- 
riment to the whole state in that they interfered with the eco- 
nomic contribution of the third estate, one part of the country. 

Now Richelieu had a vital interest in the welfare of 
the nobles and wanted some to have a part in the upbuilding of 
the state. In order to do this he carried out several of the 
demands of the assembly of notables. For example, he established 

Pigeonneau, II, 376-377. 
Testament Politique , I, 141-143. 


a military school for young nobles, who were to "be trained to ad- 
minister and develop the nation within and extend and protect it 
abroad. * They were to have a part in the government, but were 

to be trained for their work and could only keep their positions 


by great services and superiority of ideas. The very fact 
that the nobility realized this made them ask for the military 
school. It was an effort to stay the decadence of the class. 

But efforts were made to aid the nobles in other ways. 
Many nobles were given good positions and favors to keep them in 
line with the government. For example, "Chateauneuf was given 
a better governmental position in spite of his bad intentions 
towards the government."^ "Indeed," Richelieu says, "common peo- 
ple were replaced by nobles in the king's household because it 
would increase the number of those who are to help the people 

bear the burden of taxation, which they are overwhelmed with at 

present." This is an economic way of looking at the problem. 
The Cardinal was willing to do all he could to aid the poor peo- 
ple, but he regarded the privileges of the nobles as something 
necessary and a part of the natural order of events. His eco- 
nomics at this point is rather weak. 

Indeed, the fact that the Cardinal desired the nobles 
to enter all phases of French life and thus influence it through 

1 Isambert, XVI, 466-470. 

2 Caillet, 1££. 

3 Testament Politique , I, 40-43* 

4 Ibid., I, 215-217. 


their abilities, is best illustrated by his provision that the 
nobles were to be allowed to engage in commerce without loss of 
honor. ^ Moreover, individuals were ennobled because of their co- 
lonial or commercial ventures. In other words, the Cardinal 
strove to bring the exclusive order down to the everyday phases 
of life, and while he recognized their privileges, he wanted them 
to retain them only in so far as earned by economic or political 
efforts. The ultimate goal of it all was to be of course the 
building up of the state. He sums his entire attitude up when 
he says that a noble must do nothing prejudicial to the state or 
the king, and must undertake nothing against the repose of the 
kingdom, but must exist in the terms of duty and in the true in- 
terests of the state and its welfare. He really wanted to make 
this class the brains and administration of the country. The 
older men were to formulate the plans of government and the 
younger men were to carry them out. ^ In other words he desired 
to use these men as official agents in the development of France 
politically and economically as well. The inefficient corrupt 
character of the noble class prevented the success of the plan. 
Failure on the part of the nobles to assume this point of view 
brought on the French Revolution and their ruin. 

But after all is said and done, the great thing Riche- 
lieu did with respect to the nobles was to ruin their individual 
political power and open to them opportunities to serve the 
state politically or commercially, a course of action certainly 
worthy of a statesman. That he weakened this class by adding 

^ Mercure Francois XIII, 36-40. 
2 Testament Politique . II, 24-35, 


to them by means of the creation of titles because of activities 
in the field of literature or in the field of commerce, is very 
true. But what better proof is there of the economic tendencies 
of the man? He realized that the sale of offices to the nobles 
was bad and tried to stop it, but he could not bring about a re- 
form in one night, as he admitted. 1 But in opening to the no- 
bility the chance to engage in political or commercial opportu- 
nities whereby the state was to be strengthened, he was in keep- 
ing with his economic and political views, and the fundamental 
theory of mercantilism. 

That he failed to accomplish all he desired is true; 
a radical change is impossible, all at once. That he endeavored 
to develop the nobility, the clergy, and the third estate, along 
certain lines; to centralize the government and thus to act 
against many of the individuals of the above classes, explains 
one cause for his failure. Yet it was a part of his general 
policy, and to be consistent, he had to try to carry it out. 

B. The Clergy 

"In conformity with his doctrine of the state, Riche- 
lieu opposed ultramontanism and proclaims," says one writer, 
"the absolute independence of civil power and the necessity of 
a national clergy." In other words the Cardinal desired the 
clergy to join their interests with those of the nation. In 

Testament Politique , I, 165-167. 

2 Ibid., I, 14L.7. 

3 Caillet, 55. 


fact the church had something more than a religious influence in 
France at that time. "It was an age of hospitals and schools 
which were conducted by the clergy. They were the leaders of 
philanthropic work." 1 Richelieu as Bishop of Lu^on was well 
aware of the importance of that class, and indeed tried to use 
his position to diminish the oppression of the common people. 
But he wanted them to use their powers for the interest of the 
state and its economic and social welfare, Indeed, he said that 
he preferred the interest of the king and the grandeur of the 
state to the interest of Borne, even though he was of the clerical 
order. That explains his attitude. He maintained that the 
state was above the church and that the latter must conform to 
the law of the former. In other words he wanted a national 

On the other hand the clergy as a whole recognized this 

position taken by the Cardinal. They appreciated the fact that 

he desired A unity of all the people in France for their conser- 
vation. "Your majesty," said some of their representatives, 
"treats offensively and defensively, solely for the protection 
of the altar of Prance from the enemy." They then joined the 
king in his administration "whether it would be to keep up com- 
merce or preserve the security of the state in common defense, 
knowing that the sovereign law of political government is the 



safety of the people." They promised to do all they could to 

1 Caillet, 60-62. 

2 Mercure Francois , XVI, 527-528. 


keep up the glory of the state. This indicates that at least 
a part of the clergy appreciated the attitude Richelieu took to- 
wards them, and wanted to "do their bit" towards developing the 
state, even in keeping up commerce. 

Richelieu considered the clergy as being capable of 
serving in other capacities besides the religious side of affairs. 
(Doubtless he was thinking of his own case.) For instance, he 
says that the churchmen are best for public tasks because they 
have less self-interest and other distracting influences such as 
families.^ Economically speaking he desired to get out of them 
the most possible for the aid of the central government. How- 
ever he believed that their important function was on the relig- 
ious side. Herein he admits that many reforms are needed such 
as an effort to get good bishops, to change the system of ap- 
peals and courts, unjust exemptions, etc. "In fact," he says 
in a letter, "the king must be obeyed, by great and small, and 
he must fill the bishoprics with wisely chosen and capable men." 3 
While admitting the importance of learning and its propagation, 
he desires to see the monasteries limited in number, as well as 
other religious houses, because of the fact that there is a loss 
in having too many of them. 4 So he forbade the establishment of 

1 Testament Politique , I, 304. 
^ Ibid., I, 32-83. 

3 Letters, III, 181. 

4 Ranke L. von, Samtliche Werke , Leipzig, 1874, IX, 212. 
Ranke says that Richelieu diminished the number of monasteries as 
they were a hindrance to trade or business. 


any more without the consent of the king.^" In other words the 
Cardinal wanted enough and no more of religious institutions than 
to serve to build up the state. More than enough was an eco- 
nomic waste and he recognized it as such. 

In conformity with his plan to get all he could out of 
the clergy, especially the upper strata, he tried to obtain as 
much financial support from them as possible. For example in 
1628, he asked for money for the upkeep of the army and navy. By 
giving some, they would release the common people. So they 
granted three millions of livres. Indeed he would have liked 
to exclude them from exemptions of taxes. On other occasions 
he demanded certain amounts of money from the clergy and they ob- 
jected. Busy with his European wars he permitted the clergy to 

have a council and decide what they would pay and he accepted 


it, as he had other matters which kept him busy. 

As will be shown later, Eichelieu opposed the Huguenots 
not on religious but on political and economic grounds. In fact 
he encouraged their economic prosperity. This was just a part 
of that central theory of state building which he carried out 
so well. 

Isambert XVI, 347. 

2 f-f 

Bonnef an , La Societe Franchise du XVII S iecle , Paris 1903, 

85. Richelieu neglected the lower clergy ; probably considering 

them a part of the Third Estate so far as social standing was 

concerned. In this he made a mistake. 

Mercure Francois, XIV, 179. 
4 Caillet, 83- 87. 


Indeed one might sum up his entire attitude towards 
the clergy in the phrase: "what I can do to make you a part in 
the growth of the nation, that will I do, whether it "be against 
any outside forces whatsoever." The political and economic 
forces when opposed to religious matters dominated this Cardinal 
of the church, especially when the political, social, and eco- 
nomic welfare of the state was at issue. 

C. The Third Estate 

Richelieu regarded the Third Estate from the point of 
view of the nation, and for doing so he has been condemned. One 
writer says that Richelieu always sacrificed the well "being of 
the population to the grandeur of the nation without thinking 
that there was no more true and solid grandeur than in the re- 
union of these two factors, public prosperity and national glory. 
In fact he accused the Cardinal of having no true love of the 
people. And whereas the latter followed Henry IV in his at- 
tempts to build up the state he does not follow him with respect 
to the improvement of the welfare of the people, which was one 
of the aims of his predecessor.^ 

Row it is quite correct to say that the Cardinal built 
up everything for the interest of the state. That was the cen- 
tral part of his political and economic philosophy. He recog- 
nized the people as constituting a part of this great nation and 
consequently they must be aided as a class. He looked at them 
from the cold, calculating point of view of the statesman and 

1 Letters, I, Introduction, CIII, CIV. 


economist, who "believes that you must build up all the parts in 
order to increase the grandeur of the whole, hut care must be 
taken to have in view constantly the whole rather than weaken 
common advancement by an undue emphasis placed upon some part. 
This was his theory with respect to the relations of the people 
to the state and even with respect to the relation of individuals 
to the people as a whole. Indeed he says in his Testament to- 
ward the end of his life that the public interest ought to be 
the goal of those who govern the state, or at least the mass 
should be preferred instead of individual people. He cites 
Spain as an example, as having been made great through emphasis 
on the people as a mass. "By means of reason and justice this 
should be the method of councillors and kings of the future.""^" 
In other words he asks the future government to consider the wel- 
fare of its peoples. In doing so he says, "all classes should 

stay in their proper boundaries, and thus trouble would not 

arise. " 

In spite of the fact that Richelieu is considered to 
have had no personal sympathy with the people, but instead, ap- 
peared to base all his ideas upon problems concerning the wel- 
fare of the state; nevertheless, he did have human sympathy for 
them. He realized their difficulties and would have liked to 
solve them. He tried to do so but he knew that the greatest 
means to obtain aid for the people was through a strong state, 

1 Testament Politique . I, 267-270. 

2 Ibid., I, 181-182. 


and that is why he put the latter doctrine to the front, even 
though the people had to suffer temporary oppressions* It was 
done with the hope of "better conditions for the common people in 
the future. 

Richelieu was a farsighted man. He admitted the suf- 
ferings of the people because of wars, hut he saw the benefits 
to be derived in the future because of them, not only by the king 
but by the people as a body. "War," he says, "is for the best 
interests of the people as a whole in that it keeps the state 
from ruin."^" Indeed, in another place he says that the inter- 
est of France is the interest of its people, and the most im- 
portant obligation of a king is the repose of his subjects and 


the conservation of the state. 

Richelieu admitted that war made the people suffer, 
and he tried to prevent it when possible. However, he also rec- 
ognized the fact that the average individual could not understand 
the ultimate benefits to be derived by war and thus was apt to 
oppose it at inopportune times. "The miseries and afflictions 
of the people of France," he says about 1630, "who have suffered 
under very great and almost incredible poverty, made peace a de- 
sirable thing, and the king as their king and father was obliged 
to urge it. The frequent disorders taking place in many towns 
brought up the fear of a continuation of the war, because of the 
need of more money to wage it. Only a few people could under- 
stand the real purpose of war, for instance the welfare of the 

1 Memoirs, XXVI, 87 

2 Ibid., XXII, 15. 


state and of the king toward other powers of Europe. On this 
account people in general, especially merchants, blamed the gov- 
ernment for heavy taxes ; etc." In conclusion he says that the 
king as their father was obliged to seek peace for them.-* - 

It is quite evident that there was a strong peace party 
in France, led by the merchants, who did not like to pay the bills 
of war. The problem resulting seems to explain why Richelieu did 
not take active steps to aid the people at this time. In fact he 
could not. The political and economic status of France as re- 
lated to other nations had to be settled first before he could 
attend to the internal economic problems confronting him. In 
other words, he had to develop his foreign commercial policy 
first and then his internal commercial policy. He could only do 
this when the general ' status of France in the world at large was 
established. This task occupied the last ten years of his life. 
Only a beginning could be made with respect to internal affairs. 

One of the most important phases of Richelieu's life , 
was spent in Lu^.on as bishop of Lucon. The very fact that he 
was a churchman and a conscientious one at that, would tend to 
indicate that he must have known about the unhappy conditions 
of the people. That he did was also shown by letters written 
during his administration as bishop. In 1608 when he first be- 
came bishop he wrote to the people that "time will show the af- 
fection which I bear toward you, more than words can do. It is 
for that reason that I wait for deeds to let you know that all my 
attentions are for your welfare." 2 He follows this up a few 

1 Memoirs, XXVI, 86-87. 

Letters, I, 15. 


days later with a letter to the local tax collector, protesting 
against the unfair assessment of taxes, bringing out the misery 
and poverty of the inhabitants from the excessive tailleSjetc. 
He closes with a plea for moderation of the taxes and equalization 
among the different sections of Prance. ^ This letter is fol- 
lowed by another the next year, (1609) to a high official, (prob- 
ably Sully) asking him to aid the poor by a reduction of their 
taxes . 

When he became secretary of war in 1617, he desired to 

aid the poor people. Also in 16£7, at the assembly of notables 

he again advocated the welfare of the common people. He says 

there that the greatest thing a king can do is to protect public 

faith, as it is an inalienable friend which is always to be found 

present. He says that the people who now contribute more of 

their blood than their sweat to the expenses of the state will 

be aided. "In proportion as you help the people and better 


their condition, the more you can obtain from them." This cer- i 
tainly is a sound economic doctrine and shows that the Cardinal 
appreciated the fact that improved labor conditions would bring 
better results. 

In other words in 1627 Richelieu was advocating the up- 
lifting of the common people to a surprising extent. One writer 
states "that he even said, that he was to do it all in six 

x Letters, I, 18. 

2 Ibid., I, £0. 

3 Ibid., I, Introduction OII-OIII. 

Me r cure Francois , XII, 790. 


years. "^ Unfortunately he was not able to carry it out before 
his death. However that he believed it in theory to the very 
last was shown in his Testament . "This does not excuse him," 
says d'Avenel, "why did he not aid them during the period 16£7 
to 1642?"^ He did to a certain extent, as will be shown in the 
chapter on finances. But one must remember that during that 
time, France was involved in a great European war, to preserve 
her economic and political status as a nation; that she was try- 
ing to overcome internal political troubles; that a certain 
amount of territory and centralization of government was neces- 
sary before the finances could be improved; and lastly, that the 
great Cardinal was hindered by numerous petty plots of individ- 
uals which disturbed the nation during the entire period. 

Just because he failed to do much to aid the people 
does not indicate that he did not desire to do so. The very 
fact that his Testament shows that he still planned to do so 
proves clearly that he saw the necessity of arranging and set- 
tling the other economic and political problems before he en- 
countered this one. It was not lack of sympathy which made him 
assume this attitude. It was the only means of carrying out 
the mercantilistic doctrine which he unconsciously believed would 
benefit all who partook of that which a strong state has to of- 
fer. In 16£9 after he had taken La Rochelle, he pointed out the 
two great problems of his administration. He says to the king 
in a letter, "now that La Rochelle is taken, if the king wishes 

1 Letters, Introduction, XCII-XCIII. 

2 Ibid., Introduction, CII-CIII. 


to become the most powerful monarch and the most admired prince 
of the world, he ought to confide in God, and talk carefully and 
secretly with his faithful people, both as to what he had better 
do in person, and what reform is needed for his estate. (Does 
this seem absolutistic?) With respect to the state his inter- 
ests are divided into two parts, namely internal and external 
problems. With respect to the first, the razing of the fortress- 
es seems necessary; with respect to the second, it seems neces- 
sary to stop the progress of Spain, make oneself powerful on the 
sea, make the borders secure against Germany and Italyjetc."^- 
Surely that would explain why the people had to pay heavy taxes. 
Indeed he concludes by saying that he plans to raze all fortress- 
es except those on the frontiers, or on strategic points on the 
river, and to suppress the paulette and all other internal for- 
ces which weaken the state. This would seem to explain some of 
his problems and why he was not able to do much for the common 
people. It was a matter to be settled in the future when peace 
should be established. The method to be followed then, he has 
brought out in his Testament Politique ♦ 

The center of difficulty in regard to the third estate 
was of course the heavy taxes. Between 16£7 and 1632 he in- 
tended to discharge the people of three millions of livres and 

asked them in recognition of this desire on the part of the gov- 


ernment to aid them, to keep the peace. 

This same idea is brought out in his Testament . He 

1 Letters, III, 179-181. 

Mercure Francois , XIII, 36-40. 


says that the public interest should be the only end of those who 
govern the state. "If private interest is preferred to public 
good then harm is done. But if the public interest is the first 
concern, then the state will be happy and escape miseries. The 
particular interest of the king and the people go hand in hand. 
"<Ve must therefore aid the public and prepare for their preser- 
vation." 1 The means to do this was to be by the reform of the 
finances, for he says, "If the finances are properly arranged, 
the people will love him out of pure personal interest. This 

love is very important to a king. . It is worth more than gold or 

silver." In other words a king cannot do much with his money 
without the love of his people, — a rather business like way of 
beginning the problem. But nevertheless, he not only states it 
but tries to solve it by proposing: to reduce the revenues demanded 
of the people by three fourths. This will be taken up in a 
later chapter. 

Richelieu has been criticised for his economic con- 
ception of the common people. He has brought this out in his 
treatment of the question of the relation between the amount of 
labor a man should do and his physical strength. "In regard to 
this," he says, "all authorities agree that when the people are 
too comfortable, or have too easy a time, it is impossible to 
keep them within the bounds of duty, because they are more ig- 
norant than the other classes, and to keep them within the bounds 
of reason and within the law, they must be kept occupied. If 

1 Testament Politique , X> 257-371. 

2 Ibid., II, 113-117. 


discharged from their duties or obligations, they would think 
themselves released from obedience like mules used to burdens. 
But like mules, their burdens must be moderate. The common peo- 
ple need protection. Common sense must determine the proportion 
between the burden and the strength of those who bear it. The 
relation of the burden and the strength of the people must be re- 
ligiously observed. A prince cannot be esteemed good if he ex- 
acts from his subjects more than is necessary. Yet those people 
are not the best who never raise more than is absolutely neces- 
sary."''" This passage seems to indicate the economic turn of the 
Cardinal's mind as no other part of his work does. It certainly 
fits our modern labor situation, in which the fact is admitted 
that a certain amount of work is good for all, but at the same 
time, the physical, moral, intellectual, and religious sides pf 
a man must be given an opportunity to develop. Richelieu de- 
sired efficiency in France. He wanted them to produce a sur- 
plus. His ideal was a strong nation built up of healthy, busy 
people who would work and produce 30 that France could become a 
great political and economic power. In fact to bring this about 
he even went so far as to advocate extra taxation of the rich. 

For he says, "Sovereigns must, if possible, make use of the abun- 


dance of the rich before they bleed the poor." This remark has 
a socialistic tinge which is rather out of place in the seven- 
teenth century. No, it does not seem fair to say that Richelieu 
was unsympathetic with the common people. He really tried to 

1 Testament Politique , I, 1 73-183. 
Ibid., I, 131 T 183. 


aid them not only in a financial and political way but also in a 
commercial way. For he built up commerce and as a result, the 
commercial class, which was open to all. 

The development of the economic side of France was one 
of the most important phases of his administration, and, indeed, 
affected the common people by bringing on what we might call a 
social revolution. "Richelieu," says Pigeonneau, "has been, 
without wishing it, one of the most powerful agents of that eco- 
nomic evolution and social change, which tended little by little 
to level the ranks and which left to the nobles no other super- 
iority except that of privilege. The commercial man no longer 
resembled the man of the past with his simple and rude manners, 
who busied himself with his cloth, etc. and passed his life in 

going from town to town with goods On the backs of his mules. 


Now, often raised in A calling, by the side of some magistrate's son 

he was no longer a merchant but the head of a firm of speculators, 

who had his departments and his correspondents at Cadiz, London, 

Frankfort, etc." In other words, big business was beginning 

at that time. Richelieu did all he could to - encourage it by 

allowing the nobles to engage in it without losing their rank 

and also by creating nobles from those of the third estate who 

made a success of commerce; permitting them to join the royal 

court. In other words efforts were made to reestablish com- 
merce, to renew and amplify its privileges, and to bring it about 

1 Pigeonneau, II, 456-457. 

2 Isambert, XVI, 5£7. 


that the profession of trade should be honored by the people."'" 
Mention might be made at this point of the fact that 
this increase of commerce caused trouble between the nobility and 
the common people, in that the nobles claimed that they were bet- 
ter than the common man even if they engaged in commerce. Also, 
the third estate did not want the privileged class to engage in 
commerce and protested about it. Lastly the rise of many middle 
class people to the ranks of the nobility can be noticed as a re- 
sult of this economic and social change. 2 

Another interesting development at this time was the 
edicts against duelling and the carrying of weapons except by 
soldiers or others duly authorized. These edicts were made with 
the purpose of preserving order in the land and making all sub- 
missive to the one central power. It was economic in that it 
saved lives, (many worthless ones, to be sure) and it aided the 
third estate by affording them some protection from the nobility. 
"Kings, " says the Cardinal, "are established to preserve their 
subjects and not to ruin them. They cannot expose their lives 
without doinfr so for some public use or particular necessity." 
In other words every man's life had a certain value to the state 
and could only be risked for the security or welfare of the 

Meroure Francois , XIII, 36-40. 

2 levasseur, E. , Histoire du Commerce de la France , Paris, 
1911, I, 259. 

3 Testament Politique , I, 347t14S. 


The fact that Richel ieu recognized the importance of 
the third estate and wanted their support, is best illustrated by 
his influencing them in their ideas by means of the Mercure Fran - 
cois , the first so-called French newspaper , although it was really 
a yearly history published by certain individuals under the direct 
control of the Cardinal. 1 

In conclusion, it is clear that the Cardinal looked upon 
the common people as worthy of the utmost attention of the king, 
and those who aided him in governing. They were a part of the 
state which he desired to make strong, and this idea must have 
dominated his actions toward them. Nevertheless, this could not 
have been the only cause which influenced him to try to care for 
the lower classes. The religious side of his life must have 
brought to the surface the personal sympathy of the man for the 
suffering of others. Indeed, the very fact that he was inter- 
ested enough in them to desire their happiness in the future, 
indicates that the future of the state and of the third estate 
must have been the two elements which were the objects of his po- 
litical, economic, and social policies. No better phrase can il- 
lustrate the Cardinal's deep and heartfelt interest in them, than 
the close of that section of his Testament dealing with the third 
estate, in which he pleads with the king to consider always their 
interest, and affirms that nothing would give him greater pleas- 
ure than to have the king try to carry out, after his death, 
what he has tried to do when he was on earth; namely, to build up 
a strong state and a happy people therein. 

^ Deschamps, 129. 

2 Testament Politique, I, ISO, etc. 

Chapter VII 


Richelieu, when he came into office, realized that if he was to 
make the King supreme and "build around hin. a great state, he had to take 
steps which would lead to the centralization of all internal political, so- 
cial; or economic forces, under direct or indirect control of the royal govern 
ment. In other words, the Cardinal realized, that if he was to build up 
the French nation along economic and political lines, he must do away with 
all internal independent obstructive forces. 

This was the first problem which confronted him, when he took 
office. "The Huguenots shared the Kingdom with us," he said, "and the nobles 
conducted themselves as if they were not subjects of the King, and the most 
powerful governors of the provinces as if they had been sovereigns of the 
Kingdom."^ - All this, he claimed, diminished the authority of the King. 2 
People looked after their own interests rather than the state, and in fact, 
this neglect of the King's advisers caused great injury to the development 
of France. In other words, to strengthen the power of the Royal House in 
internal affairs was his first problem. It was the only way to develop the 
nation. That Richelieu devoted his personal attention to this side of the 
development, and left Father Joseph to carry on the major part of the politi- 
cal questions of the Thirty Years' War, indicates the importance he placed 
upon this phase of his administration. 

Now to bring about a thorough internal change, he had to remove 

•"• Testament Politique, 1, 6. 
2 Ibid., 1, 7. 


all troublesome obstacles, which involved naturally the accumulation of power 
in the hands of the King and his Prime Minister, the destruction of the 
political independence of the nobles and Huguenots, and the centralization 
of all local forces under the direct or indirect control of the King. 

Richelieu "believed that the King should be the head of everything 
and thus the last source of appeal. Writing at the close of his life, he 
advised the King to retain suoreme control of France in the future. He pre- 
dicted an era of peace and as a result great internal gains in France. How- 
ever, this can best be done by a centralized government. "The state," he 
says, "which includes everything, is subject to your will and direction." 1 
But in order to do well, the King must have a good and faithful adviser. 
In other words, the King was supreme out he needed a helper, who was of course 
to "be Richelieu. 

Richelieu has left ample evidence as to the requirements of a 
chief councillor of the King. He must have in mind constantly, his duty to 
the King and state. There should be more than one councillor to advise the 
ruler, but one should be above the others. "However," he says, "this man 
should have public approbation, for if everybody likes him, he will be most 
able to do good. "3 This adviser should be able to guide the King in all the 
phases of government. That the King realised this, and allowed Richelieu 
to assume this place, is best illustrated by the great number of offices, 
fiefs, and honors of various sorts given to him by his master. 4 Louis XIII 
understood the vast importance of the man.^ Indeed, he even permitted him 

■'Memoirs, XI, 349-350. 
^Testament Politique, 1, 232-240. 
*Ibid., 1, 244. 

%ercure Francois , XVII, 706, etc; Isambert, XVI, 345. 

5 Bonnefcn, Paul, La societe Franchise du XVII e siecle,Paris,19C3. Introduc- 
tion. II. ' j- — . 1 


to have a deliberative voice in the Parlement of Paris, just as he had 
in the council of state. 1 As the King's chief adviser he had access to all 
the parts of the French government. He was supreme, and all was centralized 
in his hands, subject of course in theory to the final word of hi3 master. 

However it is interesting and important to notice, that the office 
upon which Kichelieu laid the most emphasis, was that of "grand master, chief, 
and general superintendent of the navigation and commerce of France." His 
obtaining this office during the early part of his administration brings 
two important points to light, namely, the economic interest of the Cardinal, 
and the means by which independent nobles, governors, and other powers were 
removed in the interest of centralization. In other woris, it was the 
first great step by which the Cardinal could carry out personally the politi- 
cal and economic program which he had in mind. 

Bad internal conditions made this necessary. "There existed in 
France," says one writer, "two institutions incompatible with the unity of 
ministerial power, as with the order of finance and administration. They 
were, first, the jurisdiction of the high connetable of France and secondly, 
the office of the admiralty." 2 Both were suppressed. Eichelieu in his 
Memoirs, mentions the abuses brought about by Montmorency, the last of the 
connetable s . The office and its mate the admiralty, which had as much power 
on the sea as the former on the land, were suppressed, "because," he said, 
"they weakened the control of the King and were harmful to the finances, 
which were the ordinary expense of war, together with that of the local 
officials of that department. 1,3 The admiral had, likewise, large sums of 

Isrcure Francois , XIII, 365. 
2 Martin, H. His to ire de France, 6 vols. Pari3, 1861, II, 344-. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 212-213. 


money to spend on the navy. 

The question raised was as to whether they spent the money as it 
should be spent. It was quite evident from the complaints of the soldiers 
and others, that much of the money was wasted, and as a result, their finances 
were in bad shape. Naturally, this led to the suppression of those offices 
in the interest of the state. It happened that in 1627 the offices were 
both made vacant by death, so that by abolishing them the people were to be 
aided by the decreased expenditures.* This was the view Richelieu desired 
the people to take. It is interesting to notice how he constantly appealed 
to the effect upon their purses, in carrying out all his great acts. He de- 
sired to get control of the armies on land and sea, but wanted the people to 
look upon it as an economical change for their benefit. His aim was not 
only along financial lines, however. He desired to build up the commerce 
of France, and this office enabled him to do so without local hindrances. 

In the edict which created Richelieu "grand master, chief and 
general superintendent of navigation and commerce", which took the place of 
the separate offices, mention is made, that Henry IV planned a commercial 
company: "in order," says the edict, "that the means of navigation could be 
available for our subjects, and its first fruits in money and goods which 
are useful and are needed.'" 6 In other words, trade was to be fostered by 
this office, for the honor and giandeur of the state and the profit and in- 
crease of public wealth. Commerce was to be developed not only for the 
advantage of the people but in order "to increase the reputation and glory 
of our affairs." 3 Richelieu was to have the new office, because he possessed 

i Mercure Francois , XIII, 354-358. 

2lbid., XIII, 359. 

3 Ibid., XIII, 359-36C; XIV, 4-46. 



the ability and the integrity, care and diligence, which such a position 
required. "He is loyal to our service and to great affairs, and has the 
required capacity for the establishment and direction in this Kingdom." In 
the creation of this office, one sees the Cardinal taking the first step 
toward building up the commercial status of France. The fact that a minister, 
at the start of his administration, pledged himself to undertake the uplift 
of the economic side of hi3 country, indicates that this phase of a nation's 
development was coming to its own. The year 162? on this account, marks the 
first great step taken in the economic development of France. The economic 
duties of a ruler were at last given at least equal place beside the politi- 
cal phases of his administration. 

But just what were the duties of this office? A statement of what 
the office required, gives a key to the economic policy of Richelieu. "In the 
first place," says the edict, "he must treat with all kinds of persons. He 
must look over propositions of our subjects relating to commerce, decide con- 
cerning the merit, utility, etc., of all agreements, articles, contracts, 

etc., concerning the sea and its enterprises He is to look after 

commerce, which is so useful to France. Our navigation rights and sea enter- 
prises are under his charge- All those embarking on sea trips, can now go 
to him for permission. Before this, no one knew to whom to go. All the 
evils of the marine are to be removed, etc"^ In other words, the Cardinal 
was to have full charge of navigation, the advancement of commerce, and the 
security of Frenchmen on the seas, in times of peace. In times of war, other 
offices might be created. 2 The importance of this office can only be appre- 
ciated, when one realizes that it put the control of commerce fully in the 

^Mercure Francois , XIII, 361-362. 
2 Ihid., XIII, 362-363. 


hands of Richelieu, and it indicated that this part of his administration was 
to be one of the dominating factors of his career. It was clearly a part 
of his centralization policy. Indeed, says one writer, "Richelieu took the 
control of the maritime provinces away from local governors, and concentrated 
it in his hands, in order that it should grow at an astonishing rate."^ He 
realized that centralization in time of need meant efficiency and quick re- 
sults. This is what ha 'anted on the economic side of his administration. 
This office was really that of a secretary of commerce, and it is an evidence 
of Richelieu's unselfish motives that the first abuses which he remedied 

were those by which he might have profited. He would take no pay for his 


duties in this office, nor would he take a share in the salvage.""' 

It seems that the Cardinal's purpose was solely the idea of bene- 
fiting France. It is rather significant, that the most patriotic side of 
Richelieu's career is the economic phase. The rewards for his labor were to 
be honors and not salaries. He was above the common salaried man. In that 
sense, he was a trifle idealistic. But one must not praise him too much in 
that respect. For he had enough economic shrewdness to know that he would 
benefit financially by other means, of a more quiet nature. In this respect 
one finds many Richelieua in our modern world. 

However, this mercantilistic policy of centralization, which the 
Cardinal used as the dominant keynote of his administration, is to be found 
also elsewhere than in the changes in the royal government. The unity of the 
King and the common people against the nobles is a feature which plays a part 
in this program. The idea was not original with him, for one can see its 

Gouraud, 193-194. 
! Martin, II, 244. 


beginning in the reign of Louis XI, "whose sole aim was to constitute the 
French nation by removing the incubus, without whose removal its existence 
was impossible, namely feudal aristocracy. Thoroughly devoted to looking 
on the frivolous etiquette of the nobles with undisguised scorn, assuming 
the dress and society of commoners, Louis XI was the true precursor of 
Richelieu." 1 Nevertheless, little was accomplished in the way of reducing 
the power of the nobles until Richelieu's time. 

When he undertook the administration of France, he saw the nobles 
still at their attempts to strengthen feudal ism by means of various conspira- 
cies. He feared the combination of internal and external troubles. "What 
would happen if the nobles or Huguenots united with Spain," he asked? It is 
quite evident that this great man saw the economic as well as the political 
and religious consequences. For a Spanish victory might and probably would 
have meant the victory of the nobles, and as a result, this would have per- 
mitted the Spanish Catholic nation to overrun France. Thus the Thirty Years' 
War would have had a far different result. What would have taken the place 
of the political and religious equilibrium established?* Or from a more 
practical point of view, what would have become of the great state and the 
welfare of its people? No, one can see that the Cardinal realized that he 
had to settle coth internal and external difficulties, if he was to carry 
out his project of making France a great economic and political state with 
a happy and united people. Therein lies the economic basis of his diplomacy. 

As a result, the Cardinal decided that he had to weaken or destroy 
the political power of the nobles. The destruction of most of the fortresses 

^Bridges, 15-25. 
2 Letters, II, 82-84. 


and castles of the nobles, unnecessary to the defence of the kingdom, was the 
most important step taken to attain this desire. 1 It was brought about 
with the express purpose of considering needless expense and preventing 
trouble, and of delivering the people from the inconvenience, both economic 
and political, which they suffered from the existence of the local quasi- 
independent powers. 2 As a result, it made the nobles, the courtiers, and the 
common people more independent citizens. They could trade with more freedom, 
and thus France received a direct economic stimulus through this act. 

It cut down the expenses of government and made for peace and tran- 
quillity in the land. Therefore, it was a very important economic measure. 

One might well notice at this point the efforts made by the Cardinal to pro- 


hibit the carrying of weapons except by permission. Also, he brought about 
the edict against duels, on the ground that it was best for the conservation 
and growth of the state. He said that the general welfare of the people was 
ahead of the interests of particular individuals. 4 In other words, he did 
all that he could to better social and economic conditions in France for all 
the people, by depriving certain classes of unjust rights. This was done 
with the express purpose of making France grow. It was of prime economic 
importance, in that it gave the common people freedom to expand their internal 
commerce and their industrial and agricultural growth. The blight of war 
prevented the fulfillment of this part of the development of France. "To 
constitute the French nation, to reach that ideal government where all the 
force of the state should be directed to the common welfare - an ideal, toward 

■"Letters, 11, 320. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 192-194. 

3 I?.ambert, XVI, 175; Me r cure Francois, XX, 656. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 294-297. 


which the Revolution of 1789 made the greatest stride that has ever been 
taken by man - it was necessary first to constitute the French monarchy, 
and to that object he bent the powers of his unswerving and relentless will. 
Between him and his ideal stood one great obstacle, the feudal nobility - 
with their private duties - their exemption from taxes, their possession of 
land and power over the common man. This was harmful not only to interior 
but exterior commerce. Such a feudalism was different from that of the 
middle ages, for it was not influenced by the higher power - the clergy - and 
it was corrupt - a feudalism, without the necessities, and without the 
duties, which, from the sixth to the thirteenth century had justified and 
ennobled its existence." 1 

In other words, Richelieu was the forerunner of the French Revolu- 
tion, which was finished after 1789. He left the nobles mere courtiers, and 
the French Revolution deprived them of all their privileges. Richelieu de- 
sired the nobles to earn their privileges. They failed to respond, and this 
caused their fall. 

Richelieu was not radical in his changes. His was a conservative 
type of mind. In his reform of the government, in his replacement of officials 
and removals of nobles in office, he was very slow and exact in the steps he 
took. "The disorders," he said, "which have been established by public neces- 
sities and strengthened by reasons of state, cannot be reformed without time. 
It must be done by degrees without passing from one extreme into another." 
He then admits that care must be taken in the removal of officials. Efforts 

Bridges, 27-30. 


must be made to keep then, within the bounds of their duty, for the public 
welfare.* In other words, Richelieu was willing to give in to some nobles 
or provinces in various proportions, if he saw that it was for the interest 
of the state to do so. Numerous examples can be given, as where he refused 
to abolish certain taxes because all the provinces would not agree to it, 
and where he exiled the ruler or governor of Rouen and later allowed him to 
return. 3 "Les messieurs de Saint-Malo" refused to allow the King to construct 
some vessels in their port. The Cardinal showed them that it was for their 
interest in the protection of their commerce to do so, and promised in return 
to increase their franchises. 4- In other words, Richelieu added to or took 
away the privileges of individuals, with the sole purpose of the public 
welfare as he saw it. 

Richelieu did take away from the poor people the actual living 
menac? of the nobles. They were still a drag upon the hands of the public, 
but they were no longer dangerous. Corrupt officials were removed as being 
against the interest of the public welfare. "All things which were wrong 
should be made right," he said. "The existence of a state, which is like a 
body full of pus and badly deseased, can not exist unless cleansed. "5 To do 
this he removed nobles and officials who were acting against the welfare of 
the state and replacedthem with officials whom he believed cacable of serving 

the state. ^ Toe nobility were now given a chance to become worthy of their 

7 P, 
privileges. They were above all encouraged to enter the field of comrr.erce, 

* Testament P olitique , 1 , 159 . 
^Ivbntchretien, Intro. XC . 
3 Ibid., Intro. XCI. 
4 Ibid., Intro. XCI . 
5 Memoirs, II, 217-218. 

6 Letters, IV, 200-201; '_.ferc ure Francois, XIV, 70-139; 156-160. 
7 Mercure Francois , XII, 325-326. 
8 Isambert, XVI \ 339. 


a sure indication of the growing importance of that occupation. But the 
nobles did not measure up to his confidence in them. 

No better indication of the fact that Richelieu wanted to be 
considered the benefactor of the people can be found, than in the dispute 
over the Cardinal's administration between Richelieu and Gaston, brother of 
the King. The latter accused the Cardinal of working for his own ends and 
causing the great misery of the people. In reply Richelieu says that the 
unfortunate state of the people hurts him. However, he points out the fact, 
that it is due largely to the uprisings caused by Gaston, which had retarded 
him in his efforts to aid them. 1 Richelieu constantly asserts, that as soon 
as the political disturbance inside France should be put down and Spain be 

defeated on the outside, he would turn his attention toward the aid of the 


people, "which I so much desire." "The King," he says, "has no other aim 
than the grandeur and welfare of the kingdom." 

Another way by which Richelieu weakened the nobles and aided the 
people was in the appointment of irtendants. These newly created government 
officials were charged with the management of financial and judicial affairs 
in the local provinces, but were responsible to the central government. Thi 
power had been in the hands of various nobles, who had used their authority 
for their own personal financial benefit, so that the appointment of these 
new officials has a distinct economic aspect. For example, they were to 
see that there should not be imposed on the subjects any greater sums than 
those which were contained in the commissions (of the government).^ As a re 
suit the Intendants undermined the political power of the nobles in the 

Mercure Francois , XIV, 264. 

2 Mercure Francois , XIV, 130-133; XVII, 192-194; Testame nt Politique , I, 
8; Memoirs, XI, 349-350. 

3l 3 ambert, XVI. 449-450. 


provinces. One writer says that these officials, "under the color of finance, 
and not belonging to any branch of the administration, represented in the 
province the executive power and drew together in its name, all the forces 
of public life." 1 Another writer notes that while the intendants aided the 
central government in that they broke up the power of the nobles, yet they 
recognized the privileges and the franchises of different provinces or cities. 
"However, it was by making an appeal to the franchises and local liberties, 
and not by destroying them, that the great Cardinal built up the marine, 
founded great commercial companies, etc." 2 This would indicate that Riche- 
lieu gave in to them only in order to establish other phases of his administra- 
tion, which were necessary to build up his great object. As was said before, 
he had to go slowly. One mist notice at this point, that the formation of 
colonies and the promotion of commerce went ahead of even part of the internal 
political centralization scheme. 

The reduction of the power of the Parlements, especially that of 
Paris, has an economic interest besides its part in the general centraliza- 
tion idea of Richelieu. He desired them to attend to their judicial affairs, 
and leave the government alone. He did not ask either the Estates General 
or the Parlements to aid him in getting control of the nobility, because both 
of these bodies supported the party he struggled against, namely, the great 
landowners. 4 Therefore, the destruction of the political power of the 
Parlements as well as of the nobles was necessary for the centralization 
of the government, and the aid of the people thereby. According to Richelieu' s 

Bonnefon, Intro. IV. 
^.ontchre'tien, Intro. XCI. 

<%ole>Mathiew, Memo ires , 4 vols. Pari3, 1855, I, 478-482; II, 3. 
bridges, 3C-31 . 


scheme it was not to be a government of the poor by the rich. It was to be 

a government by a central hereditary monarchy over both classes. "In other 

words," says Bridges, " feudalism in the hands of Richelieu, was concentrated 

into a single institution, hereditary monarchy." By thi3 he hoped to do away 

with most internal and external evils and build up a strong state. No wonder 

he put down all conspiracies so severely. Indeed, his efforts to end the 

disorders of the court of justice, by having the King appoint men of merit 

and integrity, only serves to illustrate the fact that he tried in theory 
at least, to reform all the parts of the royal and local governments, in order 
to build up a strongly centralized kingdom in which the people should enjoy 
a happier social and economic life. Practically, Richelieu was apt to favor 
certain classes in his appointments, as when for example he made the Arch- 
bishop of Bordeaux Admiral of one of his fleets. The latter was not es- 
pecially strong in this new calling. In 1641 his fleet was defeated by a 
Spanish squadron near Tarragona, and Richelieu admitted that he had made a 
mistake in his appointment, by removing the Archbishop from command of the 
French fleet. 3 

There was one political element in France, which attracted the 
attention of Richelieu, more than any other single factor, on account of its 
independence and opposition to the interests of the state. It was the or- 
ganization of the Huguenots. In his Political Testament he says that at the 
beginning of his administration, he promised the King to employ all the 
industry and authority given to him, to rain the Huguenots, etc. 4 ' It was one 
of his first problems. Of course, it was a part of the great scheme of 

1 Bridges, 31. 

^Te stament Politique, I, 168. 

3Perkins, J.B., Richelieu and the Grow th of French Power . N.Y. 1904, 179. 
4 Te stamen t Politique, I, 8-9. 


sent ralizat ion, which was to result in the grandeur of France. "It is cer- 
tain,' 1 he said, "that the end of La Rochslle, (politically speaking), is the 
end of the miseries of France and the beginning of its repose and good for- 
tune. "* It was the idea of attaining a future peace and the development 
of France thereby, which caused Bichelieu to take a severe attitude toward 
these people from the start. "As long as the Huguenots have a foothold in 
France," he writes, "the King will never rule within and can take no glorious 
action within or without. "^ In other words, the destruction of the political 
power of the Huguenots was a necessary preliminary for the welfare of the 
ideal centralized state. As Bishop of Lu^on, Eichelieu lived near the Hugue- 
nots and thus was well aware of their religious, political and economic power. 

Nevertheless, in bringing about this change the Cardinal did not 
desire to injure the Huguenots personally. "If they stay quiet," he said, 
"they will be treated as citizens, with the due protection of laws, etc."^ 
They had a place and value as citizens of France, and he recognized that fact. 
One writer suggests that he rather favored those Huguenots who devoted them- 
selves to agriculture, industry, and commerce. "He opened to their enter- 


prise, all the French colonies except Canada." In other words, the Cardinal 
appreciated their economic importance a3 individuals, but deprecated their 
political strength a3 a body. To preserve the former and ruin the latter 
was necessary in order to develop France along either political or economic 

betters, III, 161. 
%emoirs, XXII, 430. 
3 Isambert, XVI, 143. 

4 Rambaud, Civil isation F ran^ ais., I, 572. 


line3. "There is no King, Prince, sovereign, nor any state so well policed, 
that it approves a rebellion of its subjects; for it is fatal to the existence 
of the state." 1 

The agitation against the Huguenots was temporarily settled, by 
a peace concluded and signed February 5, 1526, between the King and La Eochelle. 
One of the provisions of this treaty related to the use of boats suitable for 
commerce, and the fact that the Rochellais should receive no trouble or hin- 
drance in the security and liberty of commerce which they carried on according 
to the laws and customs of the Kingdom.-' This is significant as revealing 
an important local commercial or economic interest. Earlier evidence of this 
can be found. 

In 1615, MontchretieiJs work on economies placed great emphasis on the 
value of the salt industry in France. "I would remark to your majesty," he 
3ay3, "that all the trade not only of Frenchmen but of foreigners, depends 
upon the salt of the Kingdom." This can be a great source of revenue for 
France, he points out, as it is a public necessity for all. In fact the 
English, Dutch, Italians, etc., should pay the same revenues as the French, 
(which evidently had not been the case previously).** In another place, he 
advocates the transfer of salt to other parts of France by Frenchmen, instead 
of by foreigners, as had been the case. 4 Thus we see another indication of the 
development of French labor and transportation to be fostered by Eichelieu. 

It is interesting to note that at the time when Montchretien was 

Mercurs Francois , XIV, 104. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 1-15. 
"V.ontchre t ien , 235-236 . 
Montchretien, 185-186. 



advocating retaliation against foreign countries which injured French commerce. 
England resented this (as will be shown later), and brought about an industrial 
monetary crisis. * At the same time began also the revolt of the Huguenots, 
who were more and more addicted to the pursuits of trade and industry, and 
sought to profit by popular discontent, and recover their lost prestige. In 
other words, a commercial rivalry between England and France, and a political 
struggle between France and the Huguenots was to make it a three cornered fight, 
with the English in alliance with the Huguenots. 

The struggle centered around the capture of the islands of Oleron 
and Re, which of course would result in the fall of La Eochelle. Eichelieu 
said, that the island of Oleron was of great importance in that it controlled 
the outlet of the Clarente and the Sendre rivers, and could be of inconvenience 
to the traffic on the Garonne river, and thus injure the King's taxes and 
commerce. 3 It thus becomes clear that Eichelieu had a commercial motive 
for the conquest of these islands. Furthermore, he goes on 'to maintain that 
in these two islands the English found enough salt for all England and even 
for the Flemish people, which was depriving the French King of the advantages 
he had in the sale of the salt to the northern countries. Glory and safety 
requires France to keep them from England. Thus one sees that these islands 
were the object of a commercial rivalry between France and England for con- 
trol of the salt trade. 4 He points out in another place that they would 

l-Montchretien, 129-130, Editor's note. 
2 Ibii., 129-130. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 343-344. 

4 The Venetian ambassador to England was well aware of the economic impor- 
tance of La Eochelle, etc. In 1527, he tells how after the capture of the is- 
land of Be' the English would attempt to take Oleron, which was also very impor- 
tant on account of the salt pans, and both islands are very convenient as they 
command the mouths of both the Garonne and the Loire, the chief rivers of 


"be useful for a military base and control of the neighboring coast; he would 
have the advantages obtained from the wines, wheat, and salt of those islands. 
Thus these islands were to be a great military and commercial basis to build 
up France along the coast. "Great efforts," he said, "should be made to keep 
the islands of fie and Oleron from the English, who cannot be trusted." 1 

Of course Richelieu's views were bitterly opposed by the people 
of La Rochelle and the English. The former made the claim that the French 
had constantly tried to hinder the commerce of that place, by which it existed. 
In reply, the King and Richelieu accused the people of La Rochelle of doing 

injury to the commerce of other towns, as Orleans for example. "They do not 


keep their promises," the King sail. He told them on another occasion that 
the commercial growth of La Rochelle made them try to imitate the Parlement 
of Paris and oppose the government. "Now the word is «;iven by their master 
and it is to be enacted according to his pleasure, otherwise, it is contrary 
to the laws of his subjects, the divine law and other rights of the people. 3 
In other words, the commercial as well as the political laws of the central 
government were to dominate over any province or town. Any special commercial 
privileges of La Rochelle were subject to the will of this central body. 

It is certainly interesting to note, that the Huguenots claimed 
that they revolted for commercial rights. They bemoaned the unfairness of 

France, enabling their possessors to take toll sufficient to pay the cost of 
the garrison and fleet, with something over. "Indeed, some say that already 
certain Dutch ships which went to lade salt evaded a duty claimed by the English 
by main force and flight." 

See Calendar of State papers (Venetian) , XX , 341 . 

Memoirs, XXIII, 362-363. 

^/fercure Francois , XIV, 94. 

3 Ibii., XIV, 90-94. 


Francs in attacking La Rochelle, confiscating its goods, etc., and forcing 
it to seek English aid. In reply, the royal government has the following to 
say, "0 unfortunate fort so fatal to France. infidelity, so dearly pur- 
chased. Since in your substance is found the force of our misfortunes, your 
ruin will be the true remedy, ""ho will believe the fact, that they were capa- 
ble of hazarding the honor of France and the loss of the islands and the 
fort of Re, and our liberty thereby."* It is clear that the French feared 
above all the conquest of this territory by the English. 

The chief explanation for this antipathy towards English victory 

may be found in the matter of control of the salt mines, which were abundant 

in this region. "One knows well enough," says the Mercure Francois , "that 
the best revenue of the Kingdom consists of three sources, salt, external and 
internal revenues, and tailles. The fall of La Rochelle would render the 
first two useless, and as for the tailles, they would he diminished in the 
confusion of the civil war." 

lieu's desire to put down internal rebellion was probably partly due to this loss 
of revenue, which must have contributed to the unfortunate financial conditions 
of France and really would partly account for them.^ 

Furthermore, "the activity of commerce, which renders the Kingdom 
flourishing, would be interrupted, as a result of the Huguenot trouble," says 
the Mercure Francois . 5 So that commercial gain and financial loss were the 
economic factors behind the opposition to the Huguenot and English control 

2 Salt from the La Rochelle region was one of the important English im- 
ports. See Calendars (Domestic), X, 533-534. 
^Mercure Francois, XII, 102. 
4D'Avenel, Monarchle Absolue, 11, 275. 

At this point it may be observed that the economic basis of Riche 


in France • 

On the other hand, the Huguenots pointed out the fact that a treaty 
of peace had been made between England and France with their aid. But they 
had found little to warrant their carrying out the articles of that treaty. 
They had been promised free disposition of the salt, which they had on the 
islands, and of their other products, yet all the salt on the island of Ee / 
had been taken away from then; since the treaty. By the same agreement liberty 
of commerce was promised, the retention of privileges, and the reestablishment 
of the island of He as a retreat for the naval forces, but none of these had 
been carried out.* In fact the Huguenots were emphatic in their claims that 
economic injustice caused them to revolt. Later on, in 1627, they asked why 
commerce is hindered. They hinted that something must be behind it all. 
A plain exposition of the importance of trade and salt is given and then they 
declared that England wanted the islands. 2 However, the government in reply 
claimed that the Huguenots had fostered the English alliance and that the 
commercial complaint is a mere false mask. They were accused of starting the 
whole trouble. However, the central authorities did not explain why the 
Huguenots did this- 

On turning to the French version of the English side of the case, 
one sees that the English claimed that they aided the Huguenots in order to 
defend their common religious views, and also because they felt that their 
commerce was in danger.^ But the French asserted that England's ambitions 
were to recover the old territorial foothold in France. Religion was just a 
pretext. The commercial aspect of the matter cannot be excluded, because one 

1 Mercure Francois , XIV, 89-90. 
2 lb id., XIV, 100-103. 
3 Ibid., XIV, 13-14. 


finds record of a complaint on England's part of attempts made "by France to 
deprive La Rochelle of her commerce with England by means of alliances. This, 
together with the stopping of English vessels at Blye, unjustly, while in the midsi 
of peace, were reasons which all go to account for the alliance of England 
with the Huguenots. 1 Indeed one finds the fear Richelieu had of economic rela- 
tion between La Rochelle and the English, to be shown in a letter he wrote 
asking that a report be made concerning the vessels laden with salt, wine, and 
other goods, which went from La Rochelle to England. This was forbidden, so 
he asked for information in order that judgment could be given. 2 Thus one sees 
that the Cardinal feared the economic relations of these two parties and 
wanted to keep them apart. 

In other words, while the struggle with the Huguenots and the English 
at this time was of religious significance and also was brought about in order 
to destroy an internal political power, so as to build up the great state, 
yet it had also a direct economic basis, in that it encountered the efforts 
of the government to dominate local cities and overrule local commercial privi- 
leges. Furthermore, it showed the desire of France, the Huguenots, and the 
English, to obtain the salt rights and other commercial opportunities afforded 
by the location of this place. It also served to bring out a phase of commer- 
cial rivalry existing between England and France at that time. The episode 
proves unmistakably, that the economic element did actually enter into events 
of that period. The fact that it ended as it did illustrates the importance 
Richelieu placed upon this matter. He must have thought not only of the 
religious and the political advantages when he entered La Rochelle after its 

x Mercure Francois , XIII, 319. 
2 Letters, 11, 499. 


capture, "but of the economic triumph also. 

However, there was at least one individual who believed that Richelieu 
had personal motives in his capture of La Rochelle. "For," says Gaston, "by 
his control of that place he could monopolize the salt sent to England and 
France as a whole." 1 (Evidently the importance of the salt trade as applied 
to La Rochelle, justified the ardent efforts of all parties to retain control 
of it.) Indeed, Gaston claims that if Richelieu should fortify properly the 
islands around La Rochelle, he could render France tributary for the salt 
trade, and possess the principal revenue of the kingdom. 

This was to be one of the steps in Richelieu's efforts tc centralize 
all the trade of France. His assuming the office of superintendent and grand 
master of commerce and navigation was another. In Richelieu's Memo ires , 
one finds a similar statement attributed to Gaston, in which he says that the 
Cardinal wished to "build up the revenues by control of the salt industry of 
La Rochelle. ^ However, the important deduction from it all, is that the 
British, the French, and the Huguenots all desired to control the salt supply, 
which being near La Rochelle, became the logical economic bone of contention 
for all parties. As a matter of fact, one finds that in 1629, Richelieu was 
appointed Lieutenant General of the islands of Re' and Oleron together with 
several other places. He actually controlled Oleron, and perhaps Gaston was 
not wholly in the wrong. At least one can be assured that the Cardinal 
realized the importance of that region, though to what extent he was influenced 
by patriotic or personal reasons is a question which it is difficult to settle. 

1 Mercure Francois, XVII, 216-218. 
^emoirai". XXIII, 261-262. 
^ol/, 11, 2. 


Bichelieu was not satisfied with mere destructive policies. This 
is illustrated "by the fact that he not only planned to centralize the 
state by means of the suppression of local independent powers, hut he also 
took steps to concentrate the power of the state in the hands of efficient 
officials of the royal government. His ideas did not stop there. He has even 
left to posterity a clear conception of the kind of man he desired to find, who 
should take up the work of the great nation, which he, alas, was not able to 
carry into execution. 

Of course the Cardinal was theoretically next to the King in impor- 
tance. Yet he saw to it that the Council of State was divided into four 
councils, each with its individual duties, which was a necessity brought about 
"by this increase of central authority. Starting with the central body, the 
affairs of the nation were divided among comr.;issions, according to carefully 
regulated royal law.^ Taxes were collected by royal officials. The state was 
indeed centralized. 

Richelieu had certain ideas as to the kind of man he desired for 
the King's household and other official positions. Although he desired the 
positions to be filled from the nobility, yet every man appointed tc office 
in the King's household should be qualified for his position. i"'hile he be- 
lieved the class system was host for France, yet even here he considered the 
interests of the common people. For, by limiting these positions to the 
nobility, he would leave more people liable to taxes and in that respect would 
aid the people. He then openly advises the King to appoint men on the merit 
system, and not sell the offices. "Thus virtue will be the reward for office, 
not money. He even outlines the requirements as to what constitutes a 

kaillet, 18-21. 

^Te stament Politique . 1, 207 • 

3 Ibid., 1, 208-216. 


good councillor. 1 Above all he must be faithful to God and the state. He 
can attend to his own business and the state's also, but in a conflict of 
interests, the welfare of the state comes first. 2 Indeed, when Eichelieu 
says that a minister must be chosen according to his capacity, and his reward as 
a faithful public servant is that of fame which is the greatest, he seems like 
some of our modem idealists with socialistic impulses. In fact "state 
socialism" seems to be an underlying premise. A happy state, a happy people 
wouli make a great King and a magnificent France; this sums up his philosophy. 

However, fame should not be the only reward of a minister of the 
King's household. "He shouli be given enough to live on in comfort and be 
able to labor for the grandeur and benefit of the kingdom."* 5 In other words, 
if a man has the honesty, ability, and foresight to merit a governmental 
position of this sort and to work for the welfare of the state, the government 
should provide for his economic existence. Eichelieu has a practical way of 
examining political matters, which indicates that he 3aw their economic im- 
portance as well as their political or social value. Good officials were 
necessary to build up a strong state not only politically, but economically 
as well. The welfare of the latter was the important thing. "A person's 
interest is not to be compared with that of the public interest." 4 

It seems that this idea of obtaining men for offices by the 
merit system, is entirely in harmony with the mercantilists conception of the 

^Testament Politique, 1, 217-218. 
2 Tes tam ent Po l itique , 1, 225-226. 

3 Ibid., 195-196. D'Avenel has pointed out that the officers of the King's 
household, as chambellan, grand ecuver . and grand ma^tre of the King, were 
charged with various domestic duties of the royal house, but had no political 
functions. Richelieu evidently wanted to make these officials of more political 
and economic value to the state. See D'Avenal, Monarchie Absolue . I, 55. 

4 Tes tament Politique , I, 282. 


strong state. Kichelieu admits this, when he claims that one of the greatest 
advantages that can be procured for a state, is to give every one a position 
suitable to his genius and capacity. 1 A man who is capable of serving the 
public in certain functions may rain it in others. What would have been the 
history of France, if Richelieu had been able to carry out these views? They 
were conclusions reached as a result of his years of work for the nation, and 
which he desired to be carried out by those who followed him. Failure to do so 
was one of the contributing factors in the events which followed in French 
history. What a difference it would have made if this advice had been followed 
"Princes must be careful of their given promises. A Prince does harm to 
appoint a friend to a position for which he is incompetent. A personal friend- 
ship should not come before the interests of the state." 2 

However, when one examines his administration as a whole, it will 
be seen that the Cardinal did not carry out all his ideas to the letter. He 
knew that to change a custom takes time. Therefore, in such matters as the 
sale of offices versus the merit system, he admits at the last that a man 
must submit to certain weak conditions, and prefer a moderate regulation to 
a more austere settlement, which would probably be net so successful. In 
other words, "he who brings justice in by the lump, nay sell it at retail, but 
On the other hand, a man who buys an office may conduct it aright, so as not 
to lose what he put into it."'* He believed in not rushing into radical changes 
He admits that he would be more popular with the common people if he advocated 
the suppression of the sale of offices. However, he believed that the welfare 

Testament Polit ique , I, 296. 
jib id., I, 299-301. 
Ibid., I, 156-158. 


of the state is beat if maintained as it is now.^- In other words, the state 
was not strong enough as yet to bring about the required change, which could 
better take place at a later time, while bad effects might result if he 
abolished it at this time. Evidently he judged all changes on the basis of 
the present and future welfare of the state. Again he said repeatedly that 
merit should rule the Prince and his appointments, but admits that he has not 
followed out this rule. "The reason for it," he says, "is due to the fact 
that while disorders were in vogue, without any possibility of a remedy, 
reason required that order should be extracted, out of it. Which was my inten- 
tion in preserving or keeping offices in my care to people whom I could oblige 
to follow strictly my intentions and plans. If it had been possible during 
the troubles of a reign agitated by different storms to settle the regula- 
tion I propose, I would have been a very religious observer of it."^ fiichelieu 
believed that an idea in theory and in practice becomes two different things, 
which can both exist only if the welfare of the state permits. However, in 
the case of the merit system, he did hope to see that succeed in the end. 

Before he could carry out many of his ideas along these lines, he 
had to restore peace in France. He hoped to do so by means of a large army 
centralized in the hands of the royal government. "For," he said, "a Prince 
must be powerful by the strength of his frontiers and the strength of his 
army. The welfare and repose of the state depends on the fidelity and repose 
of its defenders." 1 ' In other words, the army was another means by which 

Testament Po litique, I, 163-165. 
'Tes tament Politiqu e, I, 188-191- 
'Tes tament Politique, II , 1-3; Isambert, XVI, 386. 


France was to be made ready for the great economic change which would take 
place when peace arrived. Alas, the great Cardinal had departed before that 
eventful day occurred. 

It is interesting to notice, however, that in spite of the many 
distractions of war, Richelieu tried to use the centralistic policies of the 
government to bring about great social improvements. For example , "lettres 
patents' 1 were granted a certain individual who offered to aid in the founda- 
tion of an institution for the incurable. "There are, 11 said the edict, "many 
hospitals and monasteries for curable troubles. Therefore, the government 
considered such an institution needed for the welfare of its people and al- 
lowed its establishment according to fixed rules. It was to bs exempt from 
taxes, and to be favored in all ways by the government. 11 ^- The letter, published 
in 1637, shows that the government was interested in and fostered all schemes 
which couli be of benefit to the general public welfare. It even went so 
far as to investigate the hospitals and their bad admini strati on, which pre- 
vented the poor frou being received. This was to be remedied; the Mayors and 
Bishops were to look after their interests. The poor were to be aided by new 
laws; public employment was to be provided. "By not working, 11 Richelieu said, 
"they deprive the public of the services which it could receive by their work."* 
This indicates solicitude for the interests of the poor and the state as well, 
rather surprising but entirely in harmony with the general plan of government . 

A Isambert, XVI, 474-477. 
betters, 11, 180. 



He seemed to be interested also in the physical welfare of the people. The 
establishment of a Boyal Garden at Paris for the culture of medicinal plants, 
would indicate a general governmental plan to preserve and conserve the 
health of the people and thus make France strong. For the government knew 
that the health of the man is the most desired and precious of things. "To 
aid the universities in their research along this line and to help the people 
in their collection of medical plants, we desire to establish this garden, 

All this formed part of the one political economic, and social con 
ception of Eichelieu, namely, to build up a great state along all these 
lines. To reduce the nobles, to put down the political, and economic power 
of the Huguenots, and to unify the governmental organization as a whole were 
elements of one scheme whicn was essentially central istic not only on the 
political, but also on the economic side. 

Isarcbert, XVI, 161-162. 


Chapter VIII 


The financial phase of Richelieu's administration is the most 
difficult of all his accomplishments to treat. It has been, in itself, fairly 
well developed in financial works dealing with the time. But as a part of a 
general economic scheme, the weak phases of his activities in this line take 
on a new meaning, and thus require treatment from a new point of view. 

In the light of a broader interpretation of the elements entering 
into the financial administration, it does not seem possible to accept the 
comrron conception of this part of the great Cardinal's work. That the weakest 
phase of Richelieu's ministry was his administration of the finances, is 
probably true; but considering all conditions involved, one cannot say it 
was a failure. The accusation that he made no effort to relieve the burdens 
of the people, or that he failed completely in his efforts to reform the 
abuses of the financial administration, is false A It is an unjust inter- 
pretation of the man's career, which necessitates a vindication, although, in 
one sense, other writers have done so more or less successfully . 2 

Richelieu in developing the financial side of his administration 
was guided by his one general purpose, namely, to build the great state. 
The financial system was a necessary part of this. But it could be improved 
only in times of peace and thus appears the real explanation for what failures 
there were in the Cardinal's policy - namely, a long period of war which was 
likewise a necessity in the preliminary development of the great state. 

^■Lodge, R . Richelieu, London, 1896, 174. 
2 Caillet, Chapter IX, 254, etc. 


Richelieu realized that he could carry out a general financial reform only in 
times of peace. He points out in his Testament Politique , that he ruined the 
Huguenots, put down the nobles, and undertook a great war against powerful 
external enemies, in order to assure a good peace and repose for the future. ^ 
V'hy? He goes on to say that the tolerance of these abuses has prevented 
any attempts to carry out his aims, of which the reform of the finances is 
one. In other words, Richelieu fully intended to rebuild France on the finan- 
cial side as soon as peace conditions permitted. His untimely death prevented 
the fulfilment of hi 9 intentions. 

However, even though the Cardinal's main interest was in carrying 
out the duties of "superintendent of navigation of commerce, etc.", and 
though he entrusted the principal care of the finances to the superintendent 
of finances, vet he gave attention to financial matters throughout his life, 
and left in his Testament Politique , a clear and concise solution of the 
whole problem, to be worked out later. 

This subject will be treated in two parts, first the accomplishments 
and problems of Richelieu and his financial superintendents during his ad- 
ministration, and secondly, the general theoretical solution of the problems 
as expounded by the Cardinal in his last great work. In considering his 
accomplishments or intentions, one must bear constantly in mind the main pur- 
pose behind all of his ideas, namely the grandeur of the state and the elements 
entering into the attainment of that ideal. 

Testament Politique , 11, 85 . 



A. Finances during the Administration of Richelieu. 

It was in 1615 that Richelieu first took an active public interest 

in the finances of the country. He spoke then as a representative of the 

clergy against the sale of offices, which increased the "burden upon the poor 

people, who were not able to bear much more. "Finances," he said, "are the 

true nerves of the state and should be administered with economy and with 

the redaction of expenses, such as pensions, etc."* Also he maintained that 

the number of people who were exempt frorr paying taxes should be decreased, 

all in the interest of justice and the welfare of the poor. However, internal 

dissension prevented any actual accomplishment except the temporary estab- 


lishment of a chamber of justice to study the question of Finances."" 

Nevertheless, this meeting marks the beginning of the reaction 
against the heavy taxes and the unfair exemptions of certain classes. The as- 
sembly had heard the demands of the third estate for the establishment of 
a .real taille borne by all owners of "immovable property".'-* From now on that 
wa3 one of the goals of their ambition. 

No one appreciated better than Richelieu the immense waste of funds 
which had been going on since the death of Henry IV. Huge amounts had been 
spent on pensions for various nobles. Indeed he said, that "the economy 
of Henry IV and what he has left has alone preserved France. But it will not 
last, and the very fact that the nobles who have obtained most of the money 

Memoirs, X, 203, 321-322, 340, 358. 

^"Phis chamber was created in 1624 and revoked in 1625. So little was 
done."-Isambert, XVI, 147. 

Memoirs, XI, 240-243. 


claim that it was given to foreign statesmen, makes an -understanding necessary 
at once."* 

Now Richelieu took two steps in 1625 to remedy the situation. He 
advocated publicity in the disposition of the money obtained in taxes, and 
a reduction of the expenses of government. To carry out the above purposes 
he brought about the temporary establishment of the chamber of justice, 3 
and the replacement of corrupt officials by honest ones. 4 "A change of offi- 
cials," he said, "is not a good thing, but there are times when a nation is 
saved by means of such changes." Richelieu carried out this idea by replacing 
several financial officials who were connected with various instances of cor- 
ruption. In other words, one of the first things Richelieu did upon taking 
office in 1624, was to try to put an end to the disorder of the finances. 

However, nothing was really accomplished except the stirring up 
of a little excitement among the nobles, until 1626, when the two inefficient 
individuals by the names of Chamt>igny and Mar 11 lac were replaced by the 
Marquis D'Effiat, in the office of superintendent of finances. "His administra- 
tion," said Caillet, "can be placed beside that of Solly and Colbert in merit 
and importance." 7 

The position of superintendent of the finances was, next to that 
of chancellor, the most important. He had charge not onl:/ of the finances but 

■"Memoirs, XI, 240-243. 
^Letters, 11, 177-179. 
3 See p. 93, note 2. 
^olefl, 337. 

^Letters, II. 25-26. 

6Letters, II, 26, 209-211, 330; Memoirs, XIII, 354-356. 
7 Caillet, 26S. 


also of all of the internal administration. In fact, next to Richelieu, 
D'Effiat took precedence. 

^hen D'Effiat took charge of the finances, the assembly of notables 
was called. At this meeting, he presented to the deputies a valuable state- 
ment of the financial condition of France. He indicated the lack of money 
for everyday expenses. Money had been collected ahead of time^ and bad manage- 
ment of the finances had been endured ever since the age of Henry IV. Just 
as Spain had suffered because of heavy war expenditures and no peace, so France 
was on the verge of ruin because of the state of her finances. Efforts had 
been made to aid the finances by selling the domain of the King, by the crea- 
tion of offices and increase of taille, but to no avail. "However, when peace 
is declared," he says, "the King desires to aid his people, put down the in- 
ternal disorders, and increase the rights and wages of sovereign companies, 
etc. This meeting is to offer solutions of the present problem. The King 
especially desires a decrease of the tailles for the benefit of the people, 
because of their terrible condition. Also, the supremacy for France abroad 
needs good home finances. In other words, expenses and receipts must be made 
at least to balance."** "One of the means," he said, "of bringing this about 
is to supervise more strictly the amount of money collected and spent. In 
other words, tc do away with the many offices which have absolute control over 
the finances, and are responsible only to the King." 4 That there was too much 
chance for "graft" was the keynote of his discourse. He intended to put the 
finances of France back to where they had been in the times of Sully, and the 
methods used were fundamentally those of the latter. 

^ercure Francois, XII, 804. 

flbid., XII, 790-794. 
flbid., XII, 6C2-809. 
4 Ibid., XII, 794. 


His remarks indicate the unfortunate condition of the finances 

and the problems confronting D'Effiat if he was to improve then.. However, 

the great expenditures "brought about by unforeseen external and internal 

troubles, prevented hire from accomplishing much, except to keep down the 

public debt, which was a great work in itself. For example, one way by which 


he reduced the expenses of the government was by reducing the interest A on 
money advanced to the government from 16 or 20$ to 10$.* Strict economy 
and increased credit would have worked wonders in spite of the ever-existing 

Richelieu also delivered a sp -ech at the assembly of notables, 
in which he tried to justify the heavy expenditures irade so far in his ad- 
ministration. "Everyone knows that in matters of state great results are not 
often accomplished at little expense. The great number of soldiers necessary 
inside and outside of France explains it clearly and so we can doubt the 
necessity. The integrity of the administration guarantees the honesty of the 

expenditures; and the oppression of the outside powers and internal rebellions 


threatening the ruin of the Kingdom, explain the noed of these expenditures. 
He tried to point out that the great expenditures were for the welfare of 
France, and so far as he went he was right. In advocating a state of prepared 
ness in the future for the preservation of France," 5 he strikes a chord which 
is more or less modern. In fact Richelieu here justified his manner of 
expenditures, and of course it was for the superintendent of finance to obtain 
the money in the best way available, even though the people had to suffer 

^lercu re Francois, XIV, 589-59C. 
Slbid. , XII, 756-760. 
3 Ibid., XII, 760-761. 


as a consequence. Yet Richelieu believed that the present inconvenience was 
to be preferred in order to attain future grandeur and welfare. 

The Cardinal cecame so infatuated with his external plans of 
building up a great commerce, a lar^-e navy, and making France strong by means 
of a great army, to be used against her ever-present enemies, that he seemed 
to have forgotten all his financial schemes for improvements. Of course the 
death of D'Effiat in 1632, followed by the appointment of two weak superinten- 
dents, both theoretically working at the same task, accounts for the weakness 
of the financial policy to a certain extent. Richelieu realized that in the 
death of his great financial minister D'Effiat he had suffered an immense 
loss, and both he and the King were greatly affected by his death. ^ Yet he 
should have done better in replacing him. 

The two men, ier and Bullion, who divided the duties of this 
office, were not strong men. This contributed largely to the unfortunate 
financial condition of France in 1642, which will be taken up later. 

Furthermore , from 1632 to 1642 was the period in which Richelieu 
was engaged in the important diplomatic, economic, and military activities 
of the Thirty Years' w ar. Expenses, on this account, together with part of 
the former costs of the large marine, were contributing factors toward the 
unfortunate financial condition of France at his death. 

From the very first, Richelieu believed that the financial burdens 
of the people were for the best, and that a future peace would remove them. 
As late as 1634, in a speech before the Parlement of Paris, he very ably 
discussed his policies, especially with reference to the finances. He cited 

Letters, IV, 337. 


the successes of the arables of France as an explanation of the bad finances, 
and promised a future reforrr.. Quoting from the philosophers the saying, 
"that which is first in intention is the last in execution, " he promises 
reforms in the name of the King, for the people, (l) by the decrease of the 
tailles, (2) by revoking undue exemption privileges, (3) by abolishing luxury 
and waste, and (4) by the increase of commerce. * This is an excellent example 
of the clear economic viewpoint of the man. He had a definite economic policy 
even if conditions were such as to prevent him from carrying it to completion. 

He even had the interests of the people in mind, while confronted 
with financial problems involved in raising great armies and navies. From 
the first, he had tried to raise troops in various provinces in order to 
protect their commerce and ships, and to secure freedom of the sea for them. 2 
One must not be too hasty in condemning the man when one considers the inde- 
pendent ideas of the various classes and individuals in France. How to raise 
money and also respect individual privileges was certainly a problem. For he 
knew the time was not ripe tc do away with all special privileges. 

In 163C Richelieu used his own personal money to pay the army in 
Italy, the government having failed to send them the required amount. He even 
went so far as to borrow money for the army from individuals. In 1634, he ad- 
mitted that war had cost a great deal and was a burden upon the poor, but it 
was a necessity in order tc save those men and the state. 4 Fhy condemn a 
man for doing just what is being done at present? He really believed^and he 
was right, that the destiny of France was dependent on those wars. 5 a great 

"•"Beaurepaire ch. de, Cahiers des Ft ats da Normandie, 3 vols. Rouen, 1877. 
Ill, 205. 

2 Memoirs, XXIII, 125. 

betters, III, 694. 

^Memoirs, XXVIII. 4. 

betters, II, 297-296. 

drain on the finances was inevitable. It was one of the unfortunate results 
of his consistant economic and political policy, namely, the permanent 
grandeur of the state. ^ 

Yet, even at this time he claims that he has not forgotten the in- 
terests of the people. For even though the war was a necessity, he points 
out the fact that the King had eased the burdens of the people, had relieved 
them of ^ of their tailles, and had revoked the privileges of many persons, 
etc. 2 However, inability on the part of the Cardinal to devote his personal 
attention to this matter, and the demands for financing militarism, hindered 
the successful completion of his financial reforms. 

Richelieu tried to aid the people by decreasing the pay of the 
troops, who were then the best paid in the world. 4 He was deeply affected 
by the financial side of affairs and in a letter to Bouthilier, he said that 
the latter should decide financial matters, but if brought before the King 
Richelieu would give his opinion cf the course to follow. 5 In other words, 
he wanted his superintendents really to use their own judgment so far as 
possible, but in case of doubt he was willing to give advice. 

By 1638, the finances were in a very bad shape because of the fact 
that Richelieu, in a letter to M. De Buillion, complained of the non-payment 
of the troops. Money was asked for the marine, the army, fortifications, etc. 6 
In fact, Richelieu bad finally realized that he was involved in a death 

betters, II, 297-304, etc. 

Memoirs, XVIII, 4. 

^ Cahiers de Normandie T III, 1-3. 

betters, IV, 523-525. 

5 Ibid., IV, 647. 

6 Ibid., VI, 245-247. 


struggle, and victory was the only salvation for France. As late as 1641 he says 
in a letter, that the King must provide for a great navy even if he has to "bor- 
row the money, for power on the sea is necessary. 1 Eichelieu admitted that 
France had to face a great crisis and that he had to win out regardless of momen- 
tary consequences. If the Cardinal could have had personal charge of the 
financial end of things, it might have "been different. However, it was a 
physical impossibility to handle all the affairs at the same time, as an inten- 
sive study of the problems involved will prove. Yet he did try to bring about 
some constructive financial legislation. 

The assembly of notables had succeeded in bringing into the fore- 
ground the need of retrenchment in governmental expense, the need of decreasing 
the taille and making other financial reforms, and lastly, the need of doing 
away with corrupt officials. People in France realized that it was these 
things which had "brought about the ruin of Spain, and they wished to avoid 
similar disasters, in order to save the state. ^ 

Eichelieu understood at the "beginning of his ministry, that the 
great problem before him was the financial question. His representative, M. le 
Garde, said in the assembly, that "the King desires the love of his people. 
He wishes to lighten their "burdens by retrenchment even in his own house. 
He desires to suppress all those who trouble the nation. A state of peace 
is to be followed by a destruction of the results of past difficulties, includ- 
ing wars brought about in order to keep Spain out of Italy, etc. In spite 

Letters, VI, 806-607. 

! Mercure Francois, XII, 774-783. 


of the great expenses the King has not increased tallies. He has retrenched 
on his own home expenses and has in fact cut down the tallies 600,000 livres 
for 1627. He has suppressed the office of Connetable and Admiral with their 
wages and expense, thus making a saving and removing inconveniences, which 
their offices "bring to the Kingdom.! In other words, the government in the 
years 1626 and 1627 planned to reform the finances and make radical changes 
in time of peace. 

Itichelieu displayed a certain amount of economic caution and ability 
when he urged the need of making the best of conditions at that time. "Sirce 
God is the only being who, will do something for nothing, in order to an ivs at 
his good ends, it is necessary either to diminish the ordinary expense or 
increase our receipts or do both. However, it is impossible 5 to retrench on 
the necessary expenses of the state. To think of such a thing would be a 
crime. That is why the King prefers the public to his own individual interest, 
and retrenches on his own household expenses in preference. You can thus 
judge the necessity of ever:/ other mans doing the same thing even when he 
retrenches on some things involving his own person. Each should aid according 
to his means, and the small efforts of the poor should have a place with the 
larger aids of the rich. The most austere rules are and seem mild, when they 
have no other end than the public safety and well-being." 2 Could anything 
be more modem than this statement? fiichelieu admits that war is necessary 
fcr the good of the state. Therefore it is necessary for all to do their "bit" 
toward meeting the inevitable heavy expenditures. But just as now many 

Mer c ure Franc ois, XII, 759. 
'Ibid. , 759-761. 


for various reasons fail to respond to similar exhortations, 30 it was in 
Richelieu's time, and therein lies the failure of his policy. The nobles 
and clergy did not fulfil their part of the "bargain, though he had a sublime 
faith in the patriotic feeling of the uprer classes of the people. His 
belief that educated individuals would all work for the public welfare was 
his greatest mi stake. 1 

The Cardinal did all he could to carry out this idea by punishing 
corrupt officials. "Wo official who looks after only his individual interests 
should retain office." 2 Yet he was lenient because of the King, who desired his 
favorites kept in offices. 3 Again, one sees that the faith of the Cardinal 
in every man's interest in the state, and his conservative attitude toward 
violent changes in offices, as causing him to leave inefficient men in various 
positions, resulted unsatisfactorily for the nation. 

The most interesting phase of Richelieu's efforts to meet the 
financial situation in 1626, was his attitude toward the common people. He 
admitted that in wartime the people contributed not only labor but their blood. 
Therefore, he advocated making the people pay only enough to keep them from 
losing the habit of paying taxes, and they were to be heavily taxed only when 
foreign enterprises or internal rebellion necessitated extraordinary means, 
for the welfare of the state. 4 In other words, Richelieu was entirely con- 
sistent in drawing off the money of the people as far as possible in times of 
emergency. He only carried out what he had said in 1626. His great mistake 

•"•Merc ure F rancois , 7 60 . 
2 Memoirs, XXII, 256. 
3lbid. , XXII, 345-346, 357. 

betters, II, 302-303. 


is to be found of course in his attitude toward the exemption of the privileged 
classes, which he permitted. 

The assembly of notables in 1626 was called not only to decide upon 
the financial measures needed in orier that Eichelieu might carry out his 
plans against Austria and the Huguenots; but also that he might obtain recogni- 
tion at this time of his official position as superintendent of navigation 
and commerce.* This shows that the financial disorders, with their remedies 
of decreased tailles, decreased pensions, appointment of honest officials, 
repurchase of fioyal Domain, etc., had an equal interest with the beginning 
of the Cardinal's external political and commercial policy. At a glance one 
sees the origin of a great plan to regenerate France, internally and exter- 
nally, along social, political, and economic lines. The important single 
factor which prevented the successful outcome of the plan was the premature 
death of the great statesman. 

In 1630, a special council for the consideration of the finances was 
formed. The superintendent of course was the head of it, and their reports 
were usually accepted by the council of state. This was accomplished through 
the Cardinal's efforts and indicates his interest in that department. Its 
work was not limited only to the provinces, but it also overlooked natters 
of the roads, bridges, and other public works. It is interesting to note at 
this time that Eichelieu tried to appoint nobles to positions in these councils 
and thus interest them in affairs of state. 

Another interesting and important improvement in the matter of 

Memoirs, X, Intro. 51-56; Mole, 1, 419-420. 
2 Caillet, 23. 


finances, was the development between 1633 and 163? of the system of Intendants 
of justice, colice^and finances. 1 This is one of the most important accom- 
plishments of Richelieu, because it took away from Pari ement , the nobles, local 
governments, etc., all rights to a monopoly of the collection of governmental 
taxes. They carried out the decrees and reported to the central governmental 
councils. They had supervision of all affairs which concerned the taxes and 
administration of public funds. The main purpose in appointing them was to 
centralize the administration of the finances, in accordance with Richelieu's 
general plan of centralization. However, this aided the people, who in many 
cases suffered from corrupt local governors and nobles charged with the col- 
lection of taxes. 2 It was the special duty of the Intendant to look after the 
interests of the common people. Generally soeaking, the Intendants were es- 
tablished in order to bring about local unity in all the parts of the adminis- 
tration, namely, the police, justice, and finances, and to see that these were 
controlled by the central government. Yet Richelieu permitted the Intendants 
in the performance of their duties, to irake certain allowances for the 

franchises and local lioerties of provinces or cities. He did this in order 

• 3 

that they should build up commercial industry. In other words, Richelieu 
desired the suprsmacy in a political sense of France, but he was willing to 
grant political or economic privileges to those who would use them for the 
interest of France, by developing their commercial or industrial resources. 
Exceptions were valid only when they resulted in increased grandeur for the 
entire state. 

1 Isambert, XVI, 442-450; Caillet, 45-54. 

2 In 1626, careful instructions were laid on the "tax commissioners to 
avoid corruption. "-Isambert, XVI, 165-174. 
^4ontchretien, XVI. 


Richelieu was conservative in his plans for reform in that he 
advocated no general retrenchments on the ground that they would not pay for 
the reason that the expense of bringing them about would make them failures. 
For example, he did not put much faith in the selling of so-called "bonds", 
because the King never received more than a third of their amount, while much 
time was consumed in examining the securities upon which they were based. * 

However, he did favor greater returns by means of increased commerce 
and a strong marine. "By means of both," he said, "France could make herself 
more powerful in money than any King of the Christian world. " One of the most 
important ways by which the taxes were to be increased was by means of the 
gabelle on salt, which both ths French and foreigners obtained near La Rochelle. 
This was evidently one of his chief designs in obtaining control of that city. 2 
All the provinces of France were tc pay this gabelle, and any parts exempt 
before should have their privileges transferred to the collection of the 
tailles. In other words, all France should pay the salt gabelle which was to 
be the great means by which the state was tc be aided. This would indicate 
that Richelieu desired and obtained one fundamental tax which should rest 
upon all the people. 3 Fhile it never assumed the importance he desired, this 
principle of tax collection illustrates his wish to equalize the taxes, even 
though they were heavy, and thus to aid the common people. 

There was one way in which Richelieu showed lack of insight in the 
collection of revenue, namely, in the matter of commerce. This was to be 

^•Memoirs, XXIII, 264. Bonds were sold during tha age of Richelieu, with 
the tailles, the aids, gabelles, and other taxes as security. Very often it 
was difficult to find out whether^certain tax could be accounted good security, 
since it might have been spent in advance. 

2 Memoirs, XXIII, 262. 

3 Caillet, 270. 


stimulated in order to obtain more money for France. 1 The French were to pay 
slight duties on the export of goods, hut a limited number of imports paid 
duties, light at first but heavy later on. Thus, "while Richelieu obtained 
more money for taxes, he did not see as Colbert did, that by decreasing the 
duties instead of increasing them, he would increase the receipts because of 
the growth of commerce."^ 

Many examples can be found wherein the Cardinal tried to settle 
conflicts between local provinces and the central government over questions 
of finance in the interest of both and for the state as a whole. 3 Indeed, 
one can obtain a general idea of his fundamental desires, in his statement of 
the financial side of the case to the Province of Brittany. In 1628, he admits 
that the wars against the Huguenots, etc., have been costly, but they have 
conserved the state and have prevented the English from invading Brittany. 
To do this, a strong army and navy has been necessary and strong forts along 
the coasts. Thus for their own interest as a part of the state, he asked them 
for money. 4 But the misery and poverty of the people even at that time was a 
strong obstacle to extensive gifts of money to the government. The fact that 
Richelieu had to go many times to the local Parlements of the various provinces 
for money indicates wherein the terrible financial condition of the poor was 
bound to come, and it is surprising that it was not worse. 

Gaston, the brother of the King, glad of a chance to injure Richelieu, 

i Isambert, XVI, 514-515. 
^Deschamps, 138. 

^Mercure Francois , XIII, 533-534; XIV, 113-119. 
^lercure Francois , XIV, 139-140. 



accused him of causing this poverty through his personal ambitions and lavish 
expenditures. 1 In reply, Richelieu frankly admitted that he desired to 
aggrandize France, but as a good servant he regretted to see the Kingdom 
afflicted with these passing misfortunes, which would continue if men like 
Gaston were to have their way."" Richelieu, desiring to make the nation great, 
regarded the unfortunate conditions as temporary and to be remedied in the end. 

There was one way in which the central government as a whole took 
a definite stand. It was in suppressing the corruption of the tax collectors. 
In 1631, one year before D'Effiat died, it was decided that "no impositions 
should be raised except in virtue of letters patent sent and sealed in regular 
form, which should be registered by the controller- general of finances. Fur- 
thermore, the royal judges were ordered to consult the people on Sundays or 
Festival days and to make clear the causes of the imposition which were pro- 
posed, naming the amount of taxes, and obtaining the consent of the majority 
of the people, etc." 3 In other words, the finances were to be administered 
according to the amount called for. Officials were to obey the laws, there 
was to be an absence of "graft" in that they had to report the amount to be 
collected to the people and get their consent, and also, send in a report con- 
cerning the amounts collects! to the central government. Local and external 
conditions prevented this plan from being actually carried out, but it is 
significant in that it aimed to place the collection of the finances on a 
more democratic basis then ever before. The fact that the people were to be 

x Mercure Francois , XVII, 255-256. 
2 Ibii., XVI l/301. 
3 Ibid., XVII, 337-345. 


oonsulted gives to them an economic and political importance strangely out 
of place in a true conception of an absolute centralized monarchy, unless one 
considers the mercantilistic point of view, that they were a part of the 
state, and thus their interests would tend to influence the strength or 
weakness of the nation. 

The greatest blow, however, to the financial plans of Richelieu 
and France as a whole, was the death of D'Effiat in 1532, at a time when the 
Thirty Years' ?"ar really needed the money and men, and above all the services 
of a man who could work in harmony with Richelieu's plans. "During the 
times of trouble and confusion," says Forbonnais, "he kept order in the 
finances and treated them on a basis of economy. He even procured more credit 
for the nation than at any time before, and at 10$ instead of 20 or 25$, as had 
been the past rate."l In fact, the Cardinal lost the one man who could have 
met the problems that the financial superintendents were confronted with after 
that period, and could have put France on a sound monetary basis. 

After the death of D'Effiat, Louis XIII, upon the advice of the 
Cardinal, divided the office of superintendent of finances between Bullion 
and Bouthilier, "whose administration, " says Caillet, "was not marked by any 
measures of finances worth citing. Yet in 1634, in an effort to aid the 
people," the taille was cut down by one fourth and they were exempt from, 
the extraordinary increase of burdens for the year 1634. Also, the increased 
payment made by the people in the past was largely due to the "graft" of 
the tax collectors. To avoid this, officials were to go into parishes and 
districts, examine the rolls of the tailles of those exempted, and see that 

1 0uoted in Caillet, 271. 


each one should bear his just portion, according to his ability or means, 
etc. 1 This would indicate a determined effort to improve the financial 
condition of France, even at that critical time. 

The same edict goes on not only to deprive the rich of their 
"increasing rights" and exemptions, but also, only the hereditary nobles are 
to retain their privileges. All those ennobled in the last twenty years ex- 
cept twelve associates cf the company of New France (notice the indirect 
importance placed upon colonization by this act), were to lose their privileges 
In the future nobles were tc be created only for important considerations, 
etc. Also, no one could be exempt from the taille by the simple consent of 
the inhabitants of the parish, but all were to pay their regular share. 2 
In other words, none but exemptions of long standing were to be recognized. 
This would seem to be a very important edict, even though as Caillet says, 
"It was not well observed." 4 ' It illustrates the efforts of the government 
to aid France and its people in obtaining a more just and fair basis of taxa- 
tion. Even though it failed, it is evidence of the efforts of Richelieu to 
reform the finances in a constructive way, even at that critical epoch of 
French history. 

In 1635, another edict was issued to supplement that of 1634. It 
appears that many rich people had fled to other towns tc avoid paying taxes, 
thus making the burden heavier for the poor. nhis was to be avoided in the 
future, by making theu liable to taxation in their old home, until they had 

ilsambert, XVI, 389-391; Mercure Francois . XX, 661-662, 697. 
2 Ibid. , XVI, 391-406; Cahiers* de Normand ie, III, 307-212. 
3 0mer Talon, Memo ires , Petitct 2 e Seris vols. 60-63, I, 84. 
^Caillet, 265. 




been three months in the new one.* There was indeed a strong tendency 
on the part of the government to aid the poor, in fact it even went so far 
in an edict abolishing the sou for the registration of deaths, carriages, 
or birth, as to say that "the strong should bear the burdens of the weak." 2 
Indeed one can almost believe that they meant it, since any measure, which 
would aid the state as a whole, was correct according to the mercantilists 
philosophy of the time. 

By 1637, the financial condition of France had become critical. 
Eichelieu, in a letter to the Zing, warned him against overtaxing the border 
cities, in that their security was necessary for that of the state. 3 In 1639, 
Richelieu on account of the increasing expenses had to cut down the financial 


aid given Holland. 

Finally the Cardinal in a letter of 1639 came out directly against 
the increase of the gabelle, against unfair taxation in general, and corrup- 
tion, as having caused the financial troubles of France. "I know," he says, 
"that the superintendents will say that they can do nothing, and are obliged 
to do many things which they would condemn at another time. I will say that 
all have' given their hearts and lands to the enemy and are condemned at all 
times. Hichelieu, by this letter and others, came out directly against 
the policy of the superintendent and the financial council, which caused 
so much suffering. 6 It was unfortunate that he had not the opportunity 

■""Isambert, XVI, 455-457. 
2 Ibid., XVI, 460-461. 

betters, VI, 96; Memoirs XXX, 317-318. 
betters, VI, 613-614. 

5 Ibid., VI, 496-497; 5C0-501 . Isambert, XVI, 497-499. 
6 Ibid., VI, 858-859. 


to carry out his own reforms along that line. In fact, the last letters 
of Richelieu to the superintendent of finances not only asked for more money, 
which was needed, but also recommended the passage of a general aid of a 
"sou per livre", which the people were willing to endure. 1 Thus, even though 
France was in an unfortunate financial state, he admitted that the people 
were, after all, the deciding factor in the solution of this problem. "The 
consent of the people in a time like this," he says, "is better than all the 
force which one can use in any other way." 2 

It was clearly not lack of ability which caused Richelieu to permit 
this state of the finances, which existed at his death. The whole truth 
of the matter is that he left the financial side of his administration to his 
capable minister D'Effiat, who was carrying France through very successfully 
when he died. Then two incapable men took charge of affairs, and Richelieu 
was just beginning tc take an active hand in financial matters, when an early 
death prevented the completion of his plan. 

A few things may be noticed in his favor. The debt which in 1535 
was 300 millions of livres had been reduced to 250 millions by Solly, and was 
only 300 millions at Richelieu's death. Thus, although the Cardinal increased 
the burdens for his generation, the coming generation would have had an excel- 
lent chance to develop France on the financial side according to the ideas 
left in his last great work.^ 

Finally, when one considers the new and powerful impulse he gave 
to maritime and commercial enterprises, and his efforts to favor general 

betters, VI, 900-901. 
2 Ibid., VI, 901-902. 

Another evidence of the Cardinal's interest in the finances 'is found 
in the budget system which he attempted to introiuce. This required a yearly 
statement of the finances, which would have been very valuable if it had been 
carried out . 


prosperity and future welfare, it cannot be said that his own personal finan- 
cial policy was a failure. In the larger sense of the term it was not. 
That his financial policy was incomplete cannot be denied. Constant references 
by himself and others, leave no doubt as to his future plans. 1 These as ap- 
pearing in his Testament Politique will be considered next, and will be seen 
largely to justify his financial administration. 

B. The Views of Richelieu Concerning the Administration 

of Finances. • 

Richelieu has left us in his Testament Politique , a complete state- 
ment of his final ideas with reference to the solution of the financial prob- 
lems confronting France. 2 That he expected the future generation to carry 
them out cannot be doubted. Indeed, it is to his credit that in his finan- 
cial schemes as well as his entire policy, he looked into the future as well 
a3 the present. Admitting that the expenses for war were great, he maintained 
that it would benefit posterity forever and repay them for the pain and 
labor undergone. 

The graft and corruption connected with the collection of taxes in 
the past, had filled him with disgust. He had been in favor of sending 
officials to overlook these collectors and also the nobility, and prevent any 
oppression of the weak and poor by the strong and rich. However, he shows his 
caution and farsightedness by indicating the necessity of going slow and not 
overturning the entire system of collection. "The state should see," he said, 
"that those who serve the nation to the best of their ability should be 

1 Cahiers de Normandie, II, 188-189; 175, 176, 177, etc.; Ill, 1-3, 69. 
Memoiresde Nicoulas Goulas , 2 vols., Paris, 1879, I, 19-20. 

2 The basis of this discussion is Richelieu's treatment of the finances 
in his Testament Politique , 11, 80-105. French Edition. II, 105-132. English 
Edition. Both II, Ch. IX, Section VII. 


properly rewarded." To punish the really bad, and reward the faithful, was 
the true method of reform. -In fact his entire plan for the reform of the 
financial officials was based on the solid principle of allowing fswer men 
to do the work, and rewarding them adequately for their efforts. Centraliza- 
tion in the hands of a few men of merit, expresses the idea of one who was 
always looking for the greatest economic, political, and social returns, for 
every measure along these lines. 

Nevertheless, one must turn to the second part of Richelieu's 
Testament Politique , in order to appreciate his final ideas concerning the 
finances of France, and his plans for the future solution of the difficulties 
confronting this part of the administration. "It shows that he was not a 
stranger tc this important part of his administration," says Caillet. 1 

Eichelieu makes clear the power of money in developing the power 

of the state. "Finances," he says, "ars the nerves of the state." In other 

words, in order for a nation to be able to compete with other countries, she 

must have the financial foundation upon which to build her power. He points 

out that foundation must be solid. There is a danger of asking too much of 
the people, and also of asking too little. A happy medium must be struck. 
All necessary expenses must be met. However, the less one gets from the 
people the better. Now to obtain the happy result of the best welfare of the 
people, strict economy in the use of money must be the motto of the govern- 
ment. This of course means a reform in the means of collection of the 
finances and reform in the payment of expenses. He maintains that the finan- 
cial accounts of France, both receipts and expenses, must be open and above 

Call let, 260. 


"board. "Secrecy is conducive to corruption," he says. 

He then goes on to defend his policy of the suppression of the 
Huguenots and his attitude toward wars in general, in order to obtain a 
peace in which all other abuses would he done away with. The finances could 
not he reformed very much until an internal and external peace should be 

He then takes up the matter of the internal revenue taxes, as a 
means of raising revenue. He admits that they bring money, but also realizes 
that they raise prices, which in turn makes the expense of maintaining sol- 
diers higher, as well as causing worse conditions for workmen. They result 
in a great loss to individuals, with only a slight gain fcr the Prince. "The 
poor landowner will not gain by the levy of such a tax. His land will re- 
main the same in value and its products the same, and even if they increase 
in price, the excess of price will cause the market for the products to be 
limited." In other words, Richelieu seems to have a faint conception of a 
law of supply and demand as affected by price. He go^s on to state that there 
will be not only an increase of revenue tax for the producer, but he will 
also have to pay more for other goods. Thus he will tend to become self- 
sufficing as far as possible. In other words, increased internal revenue taxes 
increase the price of commodities and decrease their sale. Certainly this 
is a remarkable economic idea to come from a "Political Statesman" of the 
17th Century. He even goes so far as to say definitely, that if the taxes 
are increased, the loss in foreign trade will more than offset the gain. 
Also, if the internal revenue taxes are increased it will reduce a number 
of subjects to idleness, and the amount realized will decrease, due to de- 
creased production. 


r i 



The discourse of the Cardinal is interesting in that it shows 
that he was weighing his actions on an economic basis. He admits that he 
deviates from the subject when he undertakes to show the bad features of 
the above tax. Yet it is sure evidence that he was of an economic turn 
of mind, and that most of his activities, whether political, religious, or 
social, had an element of the economic in them. 

Going back to the matter of taxes, he makes the point that there 
should be an arithmetical proportion between taxes and the necessities of the 
state. He goes on to explain by saying, that no more must be imposed on the 
peopla in taxes than is necessary for the subsistence of the Kingdom in its 
grandeur and glory. Nevertheless, he points out that the King is responsible 
only to God in his judgment as to the amount of taxes. Yet he must consider 
the interests of his people in that their love and fidelity are necessary 
for the subsistence of the state and the preservation of his person. In other 
words, even though the King wa3 theoretically responsible only to God, yet 
practically, Richelieu admits here and in many other places that the interests 
of the people must be considered. "Taxes" , he says, "must be in proportion 
to the wealth of the country, for if this rule is not followed, his subjects 
will have no funds with which to pay the regular duties which they owe to 
their rulers, or to build up commerce." A reasonable decrease of the taxes, 
especially the taille, and a careful use of the money obtained so as to attain 
the greatest results is advice worthy of a first class financier. He says also 
that the interests which look to the future must be even more considered than 
those of the present, in spite of the arguments of numerous men to the 
contrary. These statesmanlike words justify to a large extent the administra- 
tion of Eichelieu. 



The views of the Cardinal were not so wise with regard to foreign 
commerce, on the side of imports. Ho still believed that the principal 
riches of a country depended upon toe ability to sell much and buy little. 
He forgot chat a balance of trade as a whole, was the most sure way of 
stopping all the attempts at home in the direction of production and industry. ^ 

However, that he did see the value of buying commodities in return to a cer- 


tain extent, will be shown later. 

The Cardinal emphasized the economical use of the money obtained 
by taxation. He compared the waste of French money with the use of the 
taxes in Venice. As a promoter of state economy, he advised the removal of 
the corrupt "comptons", to whom the taxes were farmed. This would mean a 
money saving of a million livres. He concludes this particular topic by 
pointing out that it was an art to be able to know how to collect only the 
necessary amount and also how to spend just the amount needed. "The inability 
to do either, is a detriment and injury to the state." It is clear that 
Richelieu comprehended the importance of these two sides of the financial 
problem, and that he proceeded to treat it in a practical as well as 
theoretical way, is shown by what follows. 

In taking up the method of reforming the finances, he considers 
first the amount of revenue, then the expenses of the government, and lastly, 
to what degrees the people may be eased by changes in the above two phases. 
No part of the work better illustrates the clear, methodical, logical working 

1 Caillet, 261. 
2 See Chapter XII. 


of this great statesman's mind. 

In the first place, in his detailed analysis of the revenues and 
expenses of the Kingdom, he points out that the amounts and methods of 
taxation and expenses in times of war and peace were different. 

Also, he says that the revenues could he 79 millions and the expenses 
44 millions of livres. Thus over 30 millions could be saved. In this 79 
millions the tallies amounted to 44 millions, the aids 4 millions, the gabelles 
19 millions, and other taxes 12 millions. The expenses are interest on "bonds, 
wages, taxes and rights of offices, etc. To increase the taxes, Richelieu 
wished to raise the salt tax and make everyone pay it. He also wanted the 
sou per livre tax on commodities in France. Likewise, he desired to diminish 
the tailles by one fourth. But he strongly recommends the sou per livre tax 
as an aid to the support of the war for the grandeur of the state, although 
at heart he did not think much of the tax. He then goes on to list the 
expenses that are absolutely necessary, i.e., buildings and fortifications 
must be built, and as for pensions, while they cannot be abolished, a happy 
medium ought to be struck, in that they should be reduced about one half. 
"Pensions," he claimed, "were for those who were doing something for the 
state, like serving in the war for example." 

Now by cutting down the expenses, the taille could be decreased, and 
thus the people would be aided. "This should be the chief end. For the 
true way to enrich the state is to aid the people and discharge them of their 
burdens. However, in doing so, we should constantly have in mind the future 
as well as the present." 

Richelieu had resolved also to put an end to the great amount of 
interest which was paid on bonds, and at the same time diminish the taxes on 


the people. 1 He planned to do this by a reduction of the tallies to about 
22 millions; by a considerable increase of the revenue from salt. (This is 
especially interesting considering the value he put on this product back 
in 1627 when attacking the Huguenots.) Also, by a suppression of the thirty 
millions above 44 millions. 

Richelieu intended to make the salt gabelle the important tax and 
one of the valuable resources of the state, by making the trade in that cOBomodi- 
ty free to everybody. Thus they would get rid of the numerous officials whose 
wages absorbed a large share of the money received. 

The 30 millions of interest charges, which he desired to eliminate, 
he planned to reimburse within 7 years. He was well aware of the decrease 
in the value of the capital which the interest represented and saw the ad- 
vantage to the government of repurchasing the debt while its value was low. 
"Then," he says, "the revenues ought to be 57 millions of which the tailles 
furnish 22 millions, aids 4 millions, gabelles 19 millions, and all the other 
forma 12 millions. Laying asiie the 17 million to be put in the exchequer, 
the rest must be looked upon as considerable. No nation lays up half so 
much after paying expenses." 

He notes that many more individuals are to be made liable to the 
tailles and this will aid the people. The reduction of the number of offi- 
cials will ease them, in that they will become soldiers, merchants, or laborers. 
Decrease of the exemptions will discharge the people of more than one half 

ICaillet, 262. 


of their tallies, it "being certain that the richest, who are liable to the 
greatest taxes, are those who get exempted by means of money. In other 
words, a general reform of the exemptions and the number of corrupt officials 
would result in more people paying the tailles and the burden of the lower 
classes would be lightened. 

Upon what foundation was this entire financial scheme laid? The 
benefit of the state, and of the people as the strongest factor in the state t 
This scheme of Richelieu's illustrates not only the economic genius of the 
man on the financial side of his administration, but also the interest that 
he had in the welfare of the common people, present and also future. "I am 
sensible," he says, "that it will be urged that it is easy to make such pro- 
jects, like unto those of Plato's Commonwealth, which though fine in its ideas, 
is a real chimera. But I dare to affirm that the design is not only so 
reasonable, but so easy to execute, that if God pleases to grant your majesty 
a speedy peace and preserve you for the Kingdom, together with your servants, 
of which I esteem myself one of the meanest, instead of leaving this advice 
by ray Testament , I hope to accomplish it myself." 

He had indeed an excellent plan for the financial reform of France. 
It certainly was a misfortune for the French nation, that he did not live 
long enough to carry the scheme to a successful completion. Even though 
his actual financial administration was somewhat weak, nevertheless this final 
plan when viewed in connection with his general economic and political policy, 
makes his financial policy largely justified. 


Chapter IX 


When Richelieu received the office of "grand master and chief of 
commerce and navigation", it was natural that he should be more interested 
in the external side of the national development. He left internal affairs 
in the hands of others. For example, he left the guidance of industry to the 
secretary of state, Sublet des Noyers, "ordonnateur generale" of the build- 
ings and manufactures of the King.* So that, although the Cardinal entirely 
neglected no phase of the administration, yet he left the internal aspect 
of it mostly in the hands of others. 

From another point of view, it is clear that this part of French 
development would have to wait while Richelieu carried out great accomplish- 
ments on the exterior. Only matters of direct importance, in that for example 
they were concerned with the wars, engaged his attention. For example, the 
Cardinal constantly tried to curb waste and extravagance in the kingdom. He 
realized that industry and production in general should be made to aid the 
nation in carrying its wars to a successful completion. Therefore he asked 
Grand Itfarechal de Eassompierre to form a committee to investigate and seek 


ways to do away with the needless waste and luxuries of the people of France. 
Furthermore, abundance was to be produced in the Kingdom by increased commerce, 
and the vagabonds, disbanded soldiers, etc., were to be made to work.'^ Thus 

ipigeonneau, II, 389-390. 

2 Bassompierre , Marechal de, Memo ires , 4 vols. Paris, 1875; III, 435. 
^ercure Francois , XX, 34; XX, 34; XX, 7C4-711 ; XXIV, 1-2. 


the Cardinal seems to have at t emoted a rather efficient conservation scheme, 
which he carried almost to economic extremes, when he advocated trade schools 
as being far more important to France than the schools of Liberal Arts.* 
The economic efficiency of the man would be of great benefit to France at the 
present time. 

In the larger sense of the tenr. Eichelieu did not fail entirely 
with regard to internal affairs. "He had too great a desire for the welfare 
of the public to fail -utterly in attempting to continue the internal adminis- 
tration of Henry IV." 2 "Yet, even though Eichelieu did not neglect the in- 
terior of France and its demands; even though all parts of the administration 
felt his power, nevertheless, they did not feel the same influence. And 
furthermore, one locks in vain for a single institution which established a 
lsstirg principle and was capable of guaranteeing some security to the country 

Eichelieu, while he did not pay as much attention to the interior 
as he did to external affairs, yet followed the same unconscious economic 
policy with reference to the former as the latter; namely, the mercantil istic 
or the great stats idea." He desired to centralize industry and commerce, 
and take away local noble powers from agriculture. Whatever he did was done 
for the good of France. However, the many local franchises, the heavy 
wars, etc., all prevented him from accomplishing very much in such matters 
as agriculture and industry. These phases of his administration were left 
until the future peace, when they were to be settled in the interest of 

•'• Testa m ent Politiqu e, 1, 125-1 34 • 
2 Gouraud, I, 169. 

3 D»Avenel, Letters, I, LXXXV-LXXXVI . 


the public welfare. 

With regard to agriculture, the administration of the Cardinal 
was rather weak. Of course this is natural when one considers the torn-up 
condition of the country at that time. Yet efforts were made to drain 
marshes, and various companies were granted the privileges of doing this 
with suitable exemptions, 1 This would have had an important effect on France 
under different circumstances. 

However, one must not forget the indirect methods by which the 
Cardinal aided the common people and thereby promoted agriculture. Weakening 
the power of the nobles and centralizing control in the hands of the govern- 
ment was bound to aid the farmers and give them a better chance to pursue 
their life's work. 

"Also," says Caillet, "the numerous ordinances which were made 
relating to the matter of raising and alloting the taille, and the matter of 
the discipline of the soldiers, not only resulted in decreasing the bad 
finances and developing the army, but also relieved many of the country estates 
by repressing the selfishness of collectors and the ravages of men of war." 2 

M. Henri Donial in his Histoire des classes rural es en France , has 
brought up the point that the administration, contrary to general belief, 
did consider the interests of the individual and their freedom and rights. 
He has cited several extracts from the famous code '.'ichaud of 1629, which 
would indicate this.'* In the first place, the farmer has been relieved from 
the entail. Also, by means of the destruction of the fortresses of the lords, 

i Isambert, XVI, 500-503, 537. 
2 Caillet, 251. 
3 Ibid., 2S1-2S2. 


an additional security has been obtained which has done much to relieve the 
hard life of the population. 1 The prospect of peace produced an incentive 
to work, because of sure profits. Furthermore, laws relating to exportation 
and importation, of which the decrease of the taille, and the efforts to make 
the import more equal, together with the reduction of the interest, all tended 
to better the condition of the farmers. 2 

However, there are several other measures in the "grand ordcrmance" 
of January, 1629, which indicates the solicitude of the government for the 
people. Article 206 forbids lords tc subject their tenants and inhabitants 
to corvees in their own interest, or to iirpose on the villages in any way. 
Article 207 forbids lords from making their tenants patronize their mills or 
presses on penalty of losing their mills and all other rights. Article 209 
forbids the lords to interfere with the collection of taxes and the appoint- 
ment of collectors."^ In other words, a direct effort was made to deprive 
the lords of any unlawful control over the peasants, and to permit the latter 
to make the most of their own few privileges. Of course conditions in France 
were such that this code was never actually carried out. 

But one can see that although very little was done tc aid agricul- 
ture, yet in an indirect way, a path was prepared whereby this part of the 
economic development of France was to be controlled and influenced by the 
central power. The farmers at the start were given more individual rights, 
and what Richelieu would have accomplished if he had lived is of course a 

i Code M^chaud, see Isambert, XVI, 225. 
2 Caillet, 282; :te retire Francois , XX, 697. 
3 Isambert, XVI, 225, etc; Caillet, 282. 


natter of conjecture. 

Turning to the subject of industry, one can find more evidence of 
activity along that line of French development, so far as the government 
was concerned. Starting with the Estates-General of 1514, efforts were made 
to open industry to all. "At that time, the cahiers of the third estate 
had demanded that the free exercise of the trades be open to all the poor 
subjects of the King*! Richelieu, hov;ever, did not respond to the desire 
of depriving the so-called corporations of their monopolies. The only 
exception he made was in the case of colonists who were in the colonies six 
years. They could become "rrasters" when they returned to France. This part 
of his economic policy was rather weak. 

"/lany industries were at that time the object of some regulations. 
For instance, the beer industry was regulated, and the wine growers and dis- 
tillers were recognized as two separate industries. Certain regulations were 
passed also with respect to the iron industry. The soft and hard varieties 

of iron were designated to be used for different purposes, and steps were 


to be taken to develop the mines of France. Such an industry as the manu- 
facture of glass in Picardy received its first impetus under Richelieu. 3 

The manufacture of rugs and tapestry attracted more of the attention 
of the government. During the administration of Richelieu a man by the name 
of Pierre du Pont and a partner were given the right to weave and manufacture 
rugs in gold, silver, silk, etc., for IS years. They were to accept appren- 
tices, train them, and as a reward for their services were to be ennobled. 4 

1 Caillet, 275-276. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 183, 191. 
3 Ibii., XVI, 196. 
4 Caillet, 276. 


In other words, the government made especial efforts to develop this industry 
and thus cut down the imports from the East. 

The manufacture of silk, an eastern product, was also fostered by 
Richelieu as well as Henry IV. It increased to a renarkable extent under 
Richelieu, who realized its importance. Indeed, he believed in making France 
able to manufacture such things for herself and advocated the development of 
the cloth industry because of this policy.^- All luxuries obtainsd from 
abroad were not to be encouraged, but should be made at home.^ This was a 
part of the mercantilists doctrine. "If industry was developed and foreign 
importations hindered by intelligent laws, France could live on its own 
manufactures as well as agriculture," said Richelieu.^ 

One means by which the Cardinal hoped to aid industry was by the 
development of technical schools along industrial lines. 4 This was a plan 
which he was not able to carry out before he died. 

It is clear that the interest taken by the government in the develop 
ment of industry was from the point of view of the welfare of the state as 
a whole. It fostered those industries which would compete with foreign 
manufactures, especially in the East. In other words, what little attention 
industry did receive was on the basis of making France a strong independent 
state. The destruction of internal political obstacles had an indirect 
influence on industry in France. Doubtless this field of Richelieu's ad- 
ministration would have received marked attention after the Cardinal had 

■'•Test ame nt politique, II, 67-68. 

2 Cahiers de Normandie , III, 270-277. Indicates the rivalry between 
France and England in the cloth trade in 1639. 
3 Testament Politique , I, 64-80. ■ 
4 Ibid., I, 126-127. 


finished the external part of his program and peace had enabled him to turn 
his attention to other things. 

Peace, indeed, was the dominant factor in the development of all 
internal affairs in France. This statement might be applied to the matter of 
internal commerce as well as industry or agriculture. Important problems 
confronted the government in its attempts to solve the situation, and a cer- 
tain amount of success was attained by their efforts. However, the maximum 
results in this field had to be left until after the wars, when Richelieu 
wouli have the time and money to accomplish the internal reforms which he knew 
were so much needed. ^ Yet there were problems which demanded immediate 
solutions . 

"At the beginninc- of the l?th Century," says one writer, "two obsta- 
cles opposed the development of interior commerce: (l) the lack of good roads 

and navigable rivers, (3) legislation which laid heavy duties upon the 


products of the soil." The first problem was mentioned by the Cardinal 
in a letter to his superintendent of finances in 1638, in which he brought 

out the inconvenience suffered by the public, because of the corruption and 

on the part of those who were 
waste of money supposed to attend to the paving of the streets of cities like 

Paris, which were neglected as a consequence At another time he mentions 

the plan of joining the ocean and the Mediterranean Sea by means of the rivers 

d'Ouche and d'^rmaneon. "But," he says, "this enterprise was too costly for 

the times. No person would furnish the money, so it was neglected. " 4 In 

other words, he admitted that such schemes must rely on individual efforts 

1 Couraud, 1, 190. 
2 Caillet, 264. 
^Letters, VI, 247. 
%emoires, II, 321. 



as the government was not financially able to carry them out. However, in 
1632 a law was passed with the purpose of making the rivers of Vettes, Char- 
tres, Dreux anidfEtarapes, etc., navigable. 1 So that evidently Richelieu's 
interest in this part of his administration obtained some res-alts. 

Bichelieu tried to carry on the work of Hemy IV in developing 
navigation by means of canals. The famous canal of Braire, begun in 1604, 
was finished in 1640. The government had tried to pay all the expenses in- 
volved in its construction but failed to do so. Therefore, it finally had 
to call in the aid of certain individuals to complete the task in return for 
certain concessions- They were to unite the ocean and the sea by this canal 
in 4 years or lose the rights connected with it. 2 The owners were to be 
ennobled and might induce other persons of quality, such as churchmen, nobles, 

and j-odges, to contribute toward the undertaking. In return, "considering 


the services which said Guyon and partner render to public, if they succeed 
in an enterprise 30 useful to Paris and many provinces of the Kingdom, we 
will give to them the title of nobility, etc." 3 In this case the government 
wished to centralize everything in its hands, but lading money, permitted 
private parties to undertake some phases of the work. However, this was 
done with the welfare of the entire state constantly in mind. The economic 
benefits of canals were evident to all at that time, 

Many other attempts were nade to develop other canals, but the 
unfortunate state of the treasury and general political conditions prevented 
their execution. "However," says one writer, "the system adopted by Kichelieu 
had at least the advantage of not engaging the financial responsibilities of 

Isambert, XVI, 369. 
2 Eichelieu took a personal interest in the plan for the uniting of the 
two seas by a canal. See Saillet, 2S5; also Mercure Francois , XXIII, 338, etc. 
3 Isambert, XVI, 4-8-496. 


the state, ani. leaving to the companies who undertook the task, the costs 
as well as the "benefits. 1 In this one way, Richelieu seems a little in 
advance of the a.ercantil ist ic belief. However, the general doctrine of state 
development was "behind it all. 

With regard to the condition of the roads and "brides during the 
period of Richelieu's rule, Pigeonneau has taken great pains to prove that 
the Cardinal centralized their control in the hands of the financial superin- 
tendent, and finally in the hands of the Intendants. Richelieu made out the 
budget of "bridges and roads, looked over the changes ordered, regulated the 
corvees instead of leaving their regulation to officials, and was responsible 
only to the King and his council. 2 In other words, the control of the roads 
and bridges was put into the hands of government officials and thus made a 
part of the great systs-. of centralization. This unity of oversight was 
not long in bearing fruit. Although tne roads were far from being as well 
kept up as they were in the 16th centrtry, they passed in the second part of 
the 17th century for the best and the safest roads in Europe. ^ 

The service of transportation tended more and more, like the co -itrol 
of bridges and roait;. to be monopolized in the hands of the state. Before 
Richelieu's time, the convents, the universities, the Kings, etc., all had 
their separate postal ani parcel post system. No royal relays or messengers 
took private business, unless permitted to do so by the chiefs in charge. 
The transport of goods in wagons was the exception, merchandise being candied 

i ?igeonnsau, II, 391-392. 
2 Ibid., II, 392-393. 
3 Ibid., II, 394. 


as far as possible. 

Richelieu wanted the government to take charge of this part of the 
French affairs, and centralize the postal service in its hands. He continued 
this development (which had been started by Charles IX) by creating in 1624, 
the office of director and "Intendant Generale" of the post9, and gave it to 
one of his devoted servants. ^ Also, at this time the royal relays were given 
the monopoly over the roads they covered. The messengers of the universities 
were limited to university letters, parcels, etc. In 1625 an edict was issued 
which established relays on various roads. That is, the government was to rent 
horses to individuals who were to convey goods to various places, /n effort 
was made to render the distribution of goods even and fair by preventing the 
holding back of food, through storing it in boats which were kept in secret 
places, etc. Warning was given that merchants in the future could not hold 
up laden boats or keep merchandise in warehouses along the rivers for future 
use. This was fraudulent and to the prejudice of the public. ^ Thus, efforts 
were made to prevent speculations in high prices of food and merchandise, 
in a manner very similar to the present. One sees that the government of that 
time did not fail to regulate any industry or organization if it saw fit, 
when the latter tried to interfere with the public welfare. Finally, all 
goods except grains, wines, etc., were to be transported by royal carriers, 
so a monopoly was at last reached- ^ However, this privilege of government 
monopoly of the post and express was never enforced, and the traders remained 

ll»evasseur, I, 249. 
^Isambert, XVI, 158-161. 
3lbid., XVI, 353-355. 


free to choose their carriers for packages weighing more than 50 poiands.* 

Richelieu finally was able to establish regular routes from various 
cities on certain days, and in 1630, France was divided into 20 postal dist- 
ricts and 7 foreign offices were added, in Spain, Flanders, England, Holland, 
Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. 2 Carriers left the "central bureaus" of 
Paris, twice a week, and travelled at the rate of 4 leagues per hour in summer 
and lg per hour in winter.' However, the government did not make any money 
off the postal system. It was farmed out to individuals and they received 
the profits.^ Yet there was a gain in that the letters went from one part 
of the country to another with a regularity, quickness, and security unknown 
in preceding centuries. The creation of relays at this time was a great aid 
for increasing the speed of the trips. "Indeed," says one writer, "travel 

by coaches became more regular, and transportation as a whole became cheaper 


both on land and water." Evidently during the administration of Eichelieu 
transportation received an important impetus, with increased security, faster 
time, and decreased costs. All this was accomplished by the state and de- 
pendent on it, in spite of the desires of individuals to the contrary. Created 
in the interest of the public, it was successful in attaining its object. 

Among the important means of aiding commerce was the newspaper, which 
traces its origin to the days of Eichelieu. "It was," said Pigeonneau, "to- 
gether with the opening of the canals, the creation of letter posts, of relays, 

■■■Pigeonneau, II, 399. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 351. 
Pigeonneau, II, 399-402. 
4 Isambert, XVI, 450-455. 
^Pigeonneau, II, 402. 


messengers and carriages, the crowning event which inaugurated modern times. n * 
Richelieu not only used the newspaper for governmental purposes "out the 
so-called journal was a powerful aid to commerce, by giving knowledge and 
publicity. Wher on-3 considers that through it the King notified the nobles 
that they would not lose their rank if they engaged in commerce and announced 
that certain merchants or traders had become nobles, one can see the effect 
it would have on commerce. Richelieu's constant concern for the welfare of 
commerce is displayed also in the reduction of the interest rate from the usual 
rate of 24;b plus to 18$. There was a danger to commerce in that men neglected 
it for speculation. Therefore this more moderate rate was established to 
aid commerce and industry and also to assure a sufficient profit to investors. ^ 

Everything possible at that time was done to aid commerce. The 
government tried to make the frontier the only tariff boundary, but the local 
provinces refused to consent on account of local privileges, rivalries, etc.'* 
No matter how heavy the taxes were upon goods in France, similar goods im- 
ported from abroad paid at least as much. For example, a tax was laid on iron 
in 1632, but foreign iron paid more than the French iron. This privilege 
accorded to national industry, 4 was a part of the protective aspect 
of the mercantilists theories. 

The question of money was a problem confronting the government in 
its efforts to aid commerce. The Mercure Francois brought up, in 1531, the 
necessity of trade and the injury done to it by counterfeit money. A chamber 
of moneys was established to deal with the matter, on the ground that other- 
wise the ruin of France would result. 

■•■Pigeonneau, II, 461-463. 

2 Isambert, XVI, 406. Memoirs, XXIII, 259-26C 
3 Caillet, 267. 

Serc\Sf Francoi S ; 1 XVII,713-72C; Isambert, XVI ,365 ;Mole'; II , 52-63 , 195-196 . 


Also the increase of money as a result of the discovery of the New 
World had caused trouble for French commerce. In 1636, the relations of 38 
different foreign coins were established in an arbitrary way. Of course this 
plan did not work and in 1639 the relation of coins by weight was tried. 
Finally in 1540 all the lighter French gold coins were retired and refunded 
into the Louis d'or and smaller coins, with definite relative weights. In 
addition to the sinrpl if ication of the monetary system the cost of mining was 
decreased which was a gain for both the government and commerce, even though 
not all the monetary questions were solved.^ 

In conclusion, it would seem that the efforts made by the government 
to improve the agricultural , industrial and internal commercial condition 
though rather meager in results, were nevertheless important, when one considers 
the situation at that period. The general purpose to build up the state and 
center control in its hands was the common policy behind the government in 
whatever it accomplished in these particular phases of its administration. 
The coming peace would doubtless have seen the attempt to complete this 
policy as applied to internal affairs. It was not Richelieu's lack of ability 
or of the knowledge of conditions, but his lack of time, which accounts for his 
inactivity in regard to these particular phases of his administration. 

Pigeonneau, II, 415-432; Levasseur, I, 255-258. 


Chapter X 


The keynote of Richelieu's position in regard to a war marine for 
France is found in the following quotation taken from his Testament Politique 
"The sea is an object of dispute among all sovereigns, for they all claim 
that they inherit the right to control it. Therefore, the factor which 
does so is force and not reason. It is necessary to he powerful in order to 
have a recognized claim in the heritage."* The Cardinal then takes up the 
maritime organization of England, Spain, and the Barbary states, compares the 
naval forces of these, and shows briefly how he wishes to make the French 
strong and active enough to be able, in times of war, to contend with advan- 
tage against the fleets of their enemies, and in times of peace, to defend 
their commerce, ships, and shores, from the aggression of pirates. In other 
words, Richelieu saw the need of a strong marine as a means of attaining 
a powerful state, and so was anxious to exert his efforts toward that phase 
of his administration. 

In order to gain the opportunity to carry out his ideas along this 
line, in 1627, he saw to it that he was offered the position of "grand master, 
chief, and general superintendent of the navigation and commerce of France." 
The duties of this office had been carried on by several officials in the 
past, and were now put under the control of the Cardinal, as a further move 
toward the centralization of power which he was bringing about at that time. 
"God be praised," says the M e rc ure F rar.c o i s , "that lacking in power because 

Testament Politique, II, 48-50. 


of the weakness of France on the sea, the King has concit ted to the care and 
administration of the greatest person of the century and most worthy pilot 
of the state, who has appeased the storrr.s of civil war and the foreign 

tempests near and far , the police and administration of the sea, and 

as a result will build up commerce by means of power upon the ocean and 
immunity from the attacks of other nations thereby."* 

Up until Richelieu's time each of the former Admirals and Conne ta- 
bles had unlimited personal power, and they were bound to come into conflict 
with other officials. 2 But when Richelieu took charge, all the duties were 
centralized in his hands. Gome of these duties were as follows: "to give 
and furnish all orders which will be useful and necessary for navigation, 
in conservation of the rights of France, the advancement and establishment 
of the commerce and security of her subjects, at sea, in the ports, harbors 
and nearby islands." Thus one perceives that the powers 'which Richelieu 
was to possess were very extended; indeed the appointment placed under his 
control the me reliant as well as the war marine. The duties of the Cardinal 
were defined more definitely than were those of his predecessors, and fur- 
thermore, they were broader in so far as they concerned the necessary field, 
so that he was able to decide as a sovereign raler, all questions relating 
to the sea, even to disputes arising over the capture and disposal of the 
contents of wrecked vessels. That he took his office seriously, and tried 
to realize vast plans for the maritime and commercial development of France, 
is the final conclusion of most students of his life. 

1 Mercure Fr ancois, XIII, 257-258. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 198. 
3 Ibid., XVI, 194. 


The way in which Richelieu carried on the duties of his office will 
illustrate "both his impartiality and his honesty. Numerous passages in his 
letters show that he looked upon the position as a sort of sacred trust. 
Indeed, the Cardinal considered the appointment as "being one whi^h was not 
conferred upon him as a regular part of his official position, but was given 
to him with the idea that its great importance to the welfare of the nation 
and the Xing, required every loyal Frenchman not only to obey its precepts, 
hut aid in carrying out it3 functions, if he was ordered to do so.^ - This 
explains why the Cardinal refused to accept money for his work in this par- 
ticular office.^ One of his letters illustrates very well the spirit in 
which he took up his duties and some of the problems he had to face at the 
outset. He says, "that the King, knowing for some time how his vessels were 
preyed upon, was determined to put a stop to it. So he sent out escorts with 
the various merchant vessels and fortified all the ports. Also, his majesty 
ordered me to take charge of commerce and navigation, and has sent forward 
a general order that clearance was to be taken from me rather than from Mont- 
morency (his predecessor) 11 He then goes on to cite cases in which 

his authority was not recognized. There existed at that time provinces, 
where local governments exerted almost unrestricted rights in maritime matters, 
and thus conflicted with the central authority, which was at that time the 
"superintendent of navigation and commerce." In regard to Brittany, one of 
the more or less independent provinces, he says that he does not seek to make 
innovations there, but only tries to give aid and the means to all those who 

Memoirs, XXIII, 257-258. 

betters, II, 346; Memoirs, XXIV, 275-276. 

3lbid., II, 350-352. 


wish to trade, and to do so in pleasing and favorable ways. Many other 
letters indicate his great interest in the office. 1 And so one finds that 
after this, he begins to introduce important plans in regard to forming 
a war marine, which was to be of great importance to France in the future. 
But first of all a few words in respect to the past history of this new war 
marine . 

Francis I and Henry II had attempted to build up the navy but since 
then it had dwindled to nothing. In 1603, Sully was obliged to be carried 
to England in an English vessel. On the way over he was escorted by some 
snail French ships, which were forced to salute the Fnglish flag when they 
passed one of the vessels of that country. 2 This was an insult which affected 
Richelieu deeply, as it indicated the fact that England was master over 

France, in so far as the sea was concerned. 

Henry IV had realized the necessity of a strong marine, but his 

sudden death prevented any efforts in that direction. So that when the 

Cardinal went into office, France had practically no power on the sea. "Trade," 

he says, "was almost totally ruined and the King did not have one ship." 

Richelieu as far back as 1616 had realized the weakness of the 


marine, and in his brief entrance into the "conseil" .urged all villages to 
encourage the development of a marine as far as they were able. Now as has 
been pointed out, Richelieu's theories with regard to the marine have been 
borrowed from the ideas of men like Henry IV, Issac de Laffemas, from the 

^Letters, II, 346, 349-350, 409-4-12, 415. 
2 Caillet, 267-286. 
3 Testament Politique , 1,190. 
4 Gouraui, I, 176. 


cahiers of 1614, 1617, and 1626 as well as the writings of Montchretien. 1 
But yet one must give him credit for having the ability to weld all these 
ideas together in spite of almost superhuman difficulties, and develop an 
exceedingly cacable marine policy, which was largely put into execution before 
his death. 

One of the most interesting things about this policy was the fact 

that he consulted and informed the people of France concerning it. He seems 

to have especially desired their approval . For instance, the assembly of 

notables was made aware of his economic and political reforms through the 

speech of one of his representatives. They were unanimously approved by that 

body. The nobles felt that a strong marine was the sure uneans whereby 
France could develop and regain her former splendor. 3 Richelieu also used 
the Mercure Francois , in reality a government controlled newspaper, and 
proceeded to inform the people concerning the state of the marine. In it 
the former glory of France is brought out, especially under Charlemangne , 
Charles VI, and Francis I, particularly with regard tc relations in the 
Levant. Then it shows how the religious wars had led to the fall of the 
fleet, which Henry IV had not been able to build up. "He who is master of 
the sea is master of the land."^ France had existed without sea control, 
while England, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden had increased in power by that means 
Control of the sea meant power for the nations, and was necessary for 

Pigeonneau, II, 3cl-362. 
flbid., II, 364. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 256-257. 
^v: e rc ur e F ranc o i s , XIII, 214-229. 


However, the Cardinal did not have tc use many arguments to con- 
vince the people as to t ;e naed of a marine. France had many direct and indirec 
enemies at this time, and the critical state in which the nation was placed 
because of lack of sea control caused him tc take immediate efforts to re- 
form the marine, with the full consent of the people. Of course, there was 
a certain amount of opposition from local governors and other officials 
affected by a centralization of the control of the marine. Furthermore, the 
Huguenots were not enthusiastic for a national navy. But it was just this 
local opposition which caused the Cardinal to go ahead. However, Richelieu 
knew that the importance of the marine was based mostly on its influence on 
foreign relations, and this was the primary cause for his determined and far- 
sighted stand with regard to this proble:' . 

In the first place, one discovers that relations between France and 
the Barbary pirates were not very pleasant. The inhabitants of northern 
.Africa had for many generations followed piracy as a profession, and at that 
time dominated the Mediterranean sea. They had been so strong that it was 
impossible for a French vessel tc venture out of a Mediterranean port without 
running the risk of being captured and its crew taken to Africa as slaves.^- 
Indeed, no part of the French coast was immune from attacks of pirates of 
various nationalities. The "Barb are s que s" penetrated from ten to twenty 
leagues into the interior of Provence and were a source of constant terror 
to the people there, who constantly petitioned for aid, calling Richelieu's 
attention to the fine harbors upon which to base his sea control, and build 

%ercure Francois , XVI, 56-65; 75-79. 


up an intense trade. 1 Furthermore, the Spaniards and English committed 
piracies near French soil. 2 Add to all this the fact that the nobles in 
France had no scruples about taking part in these depredations, and one can 
readily understand why the people of France demanded as a unit, the creation 
of a strong marine. 

On account of these raids and this unanimous demand of the people, 
Richelieu, in the second year of his ministry, made a "Heglement pour la 
mer", in which he brought out the necessity of a strong war marine for 
France. "In order to guarantee to our subjects who trade in the East, safety 
from the losses which they have received from the pirates, and to maintain 
the regulation and dignity of our crown among foreigners, we wish that in the 
future there will always be in our ports forty galleys prepared to go out 
quickly and scour our coasts.'" 3 As a result, Eichelieu did all he could 
by means of treaties with the pirates, as well a3 the force of a great navy, 
to make the pirates respect the flag of France on the high seas. 4 He suc- 
ceeded in accomplishing these aims to a remarkable extent, but his successor 
.Mazarin, through neglect, permitted the pirates to become strong again and 
continue their depredations. However, there were other influences beside 
that arising from the acts of the pirates, which caused him to take such an 
active stand with regard to the marine. 

Diplomatic relations with such countries as England and Spain, 

-^/lercure Francois, XII, 65-73. 
2 C-ouraud, I, 190-191. 
betters, II, 153- 156 . 

^lasson, Hi3t oire du commerc e Francajs dans le Levant , 28. 


which affected "both the political and economic growth of his country, caused 
the Cardinal to consider a strong marine as the most important weapon 
with which to meet these nations. "On the power of the sea," he says, "de- 
pends the lowering of the pride of England, Holland, etc., against 

us, and the ruin of the Huguenots" 1 In other words, Eichelieu knew that in 
order to carry out his great policy of state building, a strong navy was needed 

to cope with both political and economic problems. "It is necessary for the 


King," he says, "to choose either A cede everything to the English and Dutch, 
who are powerful on the sea, or that his majesty make himself in a short time 
so powerful that they can undertake nothing against him 1 .' 2 The Cardinal did 
fear the sea power of these lands especially England, for he saw in that country 
the future rival of France upon the sea, an i it is indeed unfortunate for his 
country that those who came after him did not see this also and act accord- 
ingly. "England being situated as she is," said the Cardinal, "could, if the 
French were not powerful on the sea, undertake without risk anything she felt 
like doing, without fear of revenge from the latter. She could injure or 
ruin our fishing trade, hinder our conferee, and nake us, (by guarding the 
mouths of our great rivers) pay such duties as seemed good to her. She couli 
descend on our islands and even on our coasts, in fact the sit'oation of this 
naval country, forces one tc fear her in all places, as being the most 
powerful enemy we have."" 5 Indeed, Eichelieu admitted the need of opposition 
to England on the sea, but political considerations prevented him from oppos- 
ing that country too orach on water; in 1635 one finds him conceding to the 

Memoirs, XXIII, 256. 
2 Letters, II, 561. 

3 Sue, E. Corjre_sp_ondence de Sou rdis, 3 vols. Paris, 183?, I, Introduction, 


English control of the channels, 1 which probably was brought aboat because 
the demands of the Thirty Years' i"ar made an alliance with the English highly 
desirable. Nevertheless, he did foresee the future power of Great Britain, 
and saw in her an enemy in the way of any commercial and colonial growth 
of France . 

The Cardinal also realized that sea control was an important part 
of Spanish policies, and that if France could weaken her southern neighbor 
in that respect, she could decrease her political control over her dependen- 
cies and colonies as well. 2 Yet Hichelieu knew that the sea power of Spain 
was on the decline after the reign of Philip II, and that the two great 
enemies in that respect were Holland and England, especially the latter. He 
tried to prepare to meet this great enemy but did not live long enough. After 
his death the policy of a strong navy dwindled away, was revived again during 
the age of Loui3 XIY, and at various periods since then. It was being strongly 
agitated before the present war, and the great crisis on at present has 
plainly indicated the farsightedness of Hichelieu 1 s marine policy. 

The best source of his ideas on this particular subject is found 
in his Testament P olitiqu e, where, after discussing the advantage of certain 
types of ships on the ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, he goes on to say that 
a great state should never be in such a position that it had to receive an 
injury, without taking a just revenge. He points out the supremacy of the 
English over the French. "This," he says, "works as an injury to the commerce 
of France, especially to her fisheries." He then comments on the fact, that 

■"Memoirs, XXVIII, S6C. 

2 Corresp. de Souriis, I Introduction; III-VII; Memoirs, XXIII, 257-258. 


England and not France can fix the duties on commodities because of her strength 
at sea. The latter in her state of weakness could do nothing. He goes on to 
relate an incident in which the British flag had been saluted in preference 
to the French standard, because of the naval inferiority of the latter. In 
conclusion, he says that only force will make England recognize France. 

He then takes up the naval strength of France, pointing out the fact 
that the utility of the Indies to Spain compelled her to have a large sea 
force. "We should be able," he says, "to oppose and put a stop to any of these 
enterprises against us. If your majesty is powerful at sea, you will be able 
to attack Spain on her lengthy coast, and they will conserve most of their 
revenues in an effort to guard their territory. This will keep them from 
troubling their neighbors, as they have lone up to the present. For they will 

need all the power they have to protect themselves "^ He closes this 

section by describing the excellent location of France in respect to harbors, 
emphasizing the fact that 3he has ports on the ocean and the sea as well. 
This is an immense advantage. Then he comments in more detail on her excellent 
ports. "Brittany alone," he says, "contains the best harbors on the ocean, 
and Provence has better ones than England and Italy together. Spain has to 
have a large navy in order to keep her many separate ports under control. Just 
as the sea divides Spain from Italy, so France serarate3 her from the rest of 
her territories"" Thus one sees that kichelieu realized very clearly the 
importance of a war irarine to France, because of her weakness on the political 
and commercial side in her relations with foreign nations, One must also 
admit that his desire for a fleet almost implies aggression against Spain 
for commercial and territorial rights. These quotations taken from his last 

Testament Politique , II, 49-52; Memoirs, XXIII, 257-258; Merc-ore Francois , 

XIII, 20S-213. . „ 

2The S™.niah Nath^rlands. L^mberg. and tne Franche Comte were the 


work, written as the result of twenty odd years of service in the employ 
of his country, certainly indicate his final ideas on this subject, and are 
thus very valuable as throwing light on his aims at that time. 

There was yet another cause which influenced Eichelieu to build up 
a war marine. This was the rising colonial trade of France and her growing 
commerce as a consequence of it. Richelieu realized that in order to develop 
and protect colonies and commerce, a strong navy was a necessity. Now, as 
he wanted Francs to be a powerful colonizing nation, it was natural that he 
should turn toward the development of a navy as one of the first steps in the 
promotion of this idea. "A force on the sea is necessary to keep it clear of 
pirates, to protect commerce and increase the grandeur of the state. The King 
takes to heart all the affairs of commerce and trade in as much as he cannot 
separate individual interests and his own. All are involved in the question 
of power on the sea and against those who would exclude them, thus to the 

detriment of their trade etc."* In other words, the question of 

commerce was a national affair, and affected all. And the very fact, that 
Gaston, the hated enemy of Richelieu supported him in his efforts to secure 
a marine, indicates the importance placed on this part of his administration. 2 
The Cardinal seeir.s also to have felt that the entire commercial development 
of the nation depended on the increase of her war marine. "If the King," 
he says, "endures the injuries, violence, and depredations which are every 
day committed upon his subjects by foreigners, and if we continue to have the 

important territories separated from Spain by the French nation. 
^• Mersure Franco is, XIII, 229-233. 
^Memoirs, XXIII, 261-262. 


fleet in the condition in which it is at present; if it is necessary to en- 
dure the heavy duties which foreigners place upon the merchandise which we ship 
their), and that which they ship us, the actual power of France will he ruined." 1 
As a remedy, he recommends that a strong marine be built up for the perpetual 
protection of comr.erce. "Power in trade and commerce depends on sea power," 
says the Mercu r e Franc ois, "For example, the naval power of England and also of 
Holland all have increased trade by that means, as well as the Portuguese 
and Venetians. The Hanseatic cities of Germany also having failed to protect 
themselves have sought the protection of some powerful Binces of the sea. 

French commerce shows a decrease and thus the absolute need of a fleet. France 

to of peace 

needs to be projected in war on the sea, and be strong in commerce in times . 

A A 

through protection. Thus not only for political, but for commercial reasons, 
it is desirable that the French nation be a strong sea power. "^ This quota- 
tion from Richelieu's paper surrs up his entire attitude toward that problem. 
One must be convinced that he saw both the political and economic side of the 
question, and acted accordingly. He appreciated the natural advantages which 
France had in regard to commerce, and the development of a strong marine, and 

was farsighted enough to desire to build up for the future. At no other 


place is his economic statesmanship better illustrated than^his efforts to 
create a war and commercial marine, in spite of the numerous obstacles in the 
way. "There is no Kingdom so well situated as France and so rich in all that 
is needed for it to become a power on the sea. To dc this we must see how 
our neighbors govern themselves in that work, we must make great companies, 
and oblige the merchants to enter them. Small merchants can not meet the 

betters, II, 331-332. 

^ Merc ure Fr ancois , XIII, 233-23? . 


difficulties on the sea etc." 1 In other words a combination between 

the merchants and the government to furnish mutual aid on the seas, was the 
plan of Richelieu, which would have doubtless produced great results if he had 
lived long enough to carry them to their logical conclusion, namely, a great 
merchant and war marine. 

Turning to the actual accompl ishments of Eichelieu with regard to 
the marine, one finds that it was during the years 1629 to 1635 that he 
began seriously to consider this phase of his administration. 3 One can find 
plenty of evidence that he contemplated actions along this line from the 
vsr?' start. 2 But financial troubles, 4 and disturbances as with the Huguenots 
for instance, prevented his doing much until later. But he admitted the 
weakness of the French on the sea, and the injury done to their commerce by 
other powers. "Our neighbors," he 3aid, "buy our goods and sell theirs at 
their price, Fow this state of affairs should cease. Therefore, his majesty 
is resolved to have 30 good vessels of war to protect cur soasts and inspire 
respect for us on the part of our neighbors. "^ In other words, from the 
very start the Cardinal had a definite policy outlined and stood ready to 
carry it out even to the smallest detail. 

The first thing the Cardinal did with reference to the marine was to 
place the situation before the assembly of notables in 1626. As a result 
cf this meeting the grand edict of reformation of 162S, or the Code Mjchaud , 

■■■Memoirs, XXIII, 258-259. 

2 Caillet, 292. 

betters, II, 163-166; 290-292; 295-296. 

Memoirs, XXIII, 126. 

•^Letters, II, 366, see note. 


was passed. This edict, written by officials cf the Cardinal's, but expressing 
his views, advocated the free exportation of wheat and wine except in times 
of famine, authorization for gentlemen to exercise the duties of merchants 
and colonists; forbade French sailors tc serve under foreign banners; and 
established the convoy of merchant ships by war vessels; action against the 
pirates was contemplated; exportation of merchandise in foreign boats was for- 
bidden if French vessels were available; there was prohibition of the importa- 
tion of foreign cloth; jurisdiction in maritime matters was reserved to 

tribunals of the admiralty, etc. This is called the Code M ichaud , but as was 

said before, represents the ideas of Kichelieu and was the basis of his 
administration.^ If these provisions had been carried out France would have 
developed a great commercial and war marine based on rather remarkable modern 
protective ideas, part of which endure at the present time. This code is a 
striking example of the emphasis that was being placed on the economic side 
of foreign relations at that time. It is a pity that internal opposition 
and external problems prevented its entire execution. 

Finally, in 1629, the Cardinal was free enough from other administra- 
tive troubles to take .up the question of the marine. He decided that condi- 
tions in the land in so far as they affected the creation of a war marine, 
should be investigated. Accordingly in 162° and 1633, he ordered two of the 
best trained men in the Kingdom, Messrs. Leroux D ' Inf reville , commissioner of 
the marine, and Henri De Seguioran, Seigneur de Bone, Knight and Councillor 
of the King, to carry out this project. The former was tc inspect the coast 

^■Isambert, XVI, 329, etc.; Levasseur, 243. 


bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. They were to report on everything which 
concerned the marine and were also to reestablish the riarht of anchorage, 
which Henry IV had yielded to foreign vessels. 1 "These duties^ executed with 
rare intelligence, cast a rather depressing light -upon the deplorable situation 
in which they found all forms cf sea activities. A situation rendered still 
worse, by the conflicts of jurisdiction which were being continually brought 
up by the governors of provinces or the admirals or the nobles whose feudal 
estates bordered on the oceans and rivers. "^ These men reported that the 
ports were without garrisons, that the coast of the ocean was harried by the 
pirates from Africa and Spain, and that the harbors and the castles built 
around then-;, both on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, were in a 
very unfortunate state of neglect. In addition tc all this, there were 
"river rulers", who exacted tolls from travsllers who went up and down the 
rivers which passed through their territories. They reported in detailed 
fashion as to the condition of the coasts of France, the duties collected, 
armaments, boats, the means cf defence in the ports, the spirit of the in- 
habitants of the ccast towns, the number of ships engaged in navigation, and 
the number of their sailors, carpenters, pilots, and captains. Finally, they 
gave an exact analysis of t e different claims of the dukedoms, syndicates, 
and corporations in France, and recom: ended as a result, that his majesty 
provide war vessels to protect the commercial ships as well as the ports. ^ 
As a result of these reports, Hichelieu became aware of the fact 

^Richelieu reestablished the old anchorage charge of "3 sous cer tonneau," 
on foreign vessels -unloading their freight in France. See Corresp. de France, 
III, 173-175. 

SCorresu. de Sourdis, III, 173-225, etc. 

s Ibid.. I. Introduction, XXXI-XXXII. 


that trade was at its lowest ebb; that other nations because of the weak marine 
of France could do what they wanted so far as concerned their relations with 
France; and that the position of France both in the East and the Vest was be- 
coming worse. He cair.e to the conclusion that something must be done to build 
up her weak and almost rotten fortifications, and her small and almost useless 
navy, if France was to command the respect of foreign nations and even of the 
pirates . 

One cannot help but admire the immense activity of the great man, 
who, in the midst of many physical ills and petty troubles, together with 
important foreign wars, was able to suppress numerous abuses, to overcome count 
less differences of opinion, and to rebuili the fighting and merchant marine 
of his country.* How he went about the task can best be explained at this 
point . 

The work of Richelieu in regard to a war marine might be broadly 
classified in the following manner: (l) laws relating to maritime authority 
and accountability (the bureau of accounts); (2) the formation of a "personal 
rarine"; (3) the restoration of dilapidated coast fortifications and the crea- 
tion of new ones; (4) the creation of a war marine and of naval equipment. 
A brief consideration of the above seems justifiable. 

Richelieu in taking up that part of his work which was concerned 

Richelieu was hindered in his worl< by many opponents, even with regard 
to the marine, which had more national support perhaps than any other measure. 
Some even said that he hid behind the claims of benefit ir? commerce, to obtain 
control of the sea and thus to uake hiaself supreme. This hel^s to indicate 
the problems before him. S29 Memoirs, XXIII, 324-225. 
2 Caillet, 3C 1-302. 

OS * 


with the passing of laws governing affairs on the sea, displayed not only 
his fairness to all other sea powers, but his knowledge of matters pertaining 
to the rrarine. He soon placed the control and conduct of all acts relating 
to it in the hands of definitely assigned officials. The latter formed 
what is called his "personal rrarine", and they conducted and managed affairs 
relating to the sea according to fixed rules and regulations imposed by him, 
In other words, he tried to put an end to the conflict of authority existing 
in France, in respect to the control of military affairs. Seven Bureaus of 
Admiralty were established, to be composed of officials already appointed 
by certain individuals, and in the future to be nominated by the Cardinal him- 
self and his successors, who were "grand masters of France". They were to 
have under their control all criminal and civil affairs, and all acts connected 
with the state government and navigation on the high seas. Also, they were 
to have charge of the proper disposal of wreckage. 1 

In carrying out his scheme relating to the formation of a marine, 
Richelieu even went so far into details, as to change the method of getting 
sailors, which had hitherto been one of the great causes of the weakness 
of the French on the sea. He had a census taken of the number and addresses 
of sailors and carpenters in every harbor in France. He ascertained the num- 
ber of vessels and their eq.uipn.ent, and the number and size of the harbors, 
and from that info nation as a basis, he determined the number of sailors 
to be furnished by each province, and the amount of money that might be levied 
for ships and their equipment. 2 In addition to all this, he established 

Perjure Francois , XVIII, 847-866. 

2 Richelieu al'so issue i orders in 1635, that all vagabonds, beggars, etc., 
should De inducted into narine service to fill up the huge gap in the number 
of men available for service. See Mercure Fra ncois, XX, 923. 


schools for pilots, put the coast in a state of defense, created new ports, 
enlarged others, and finally established three arsenals. "He spent over 
359,000 livres in 1635 for the fortifications of Brocage d' Orleans and the 
island of Re. He wanted to make the former the center of maritime power upon 
the ocean. He strengthened the ports on the Mediterranean in a similar 
fashion, especially Toulor, which he desired tc make the war center of the 
nation of the coast. 1 However, the crux of his efforts in building up the 
power of France lay in the increase of the number of war vessels and the 
enlarged equipment. 

Henry IV had realized the necessity of a fleet, but it was left to 
Pdchelieu tc carry this idea into execution. "He resolved," says Caillet, 
"to endow France with a military marine, that is to say a military force 
truly belonging to the state, and not furnished by cities, as had previously 
been the case." 2 T Jp to this time, there had existed the custom of allowing 
particular individuals and certain interests to build vessels and rent 
them tc merchants for their protection. But Richelieu saw that this was not 
a good thing, so that after he had triumphed over the Huguenots, he took 
great care to hold all ports accountable tc himself, to make himself master 
of all the magazines, all the cannons, and other war materials. Lastly, he 
foroade all vessels tc bear arms, unless tbey had royal permission. 

Under the orders of the council of notables in 1626, which had 
really been called and conducted under the direction of Richelieu, the fleets 

Corresu. de .^ourdis, III, 359, etc 
2 Caillet, 310. 


of war vessel 8 were greatly increased. But it took time before the maritime 

service was really wei: organized. 1 /s late as 1625, when France wished tc put 

an end tc the ravages which were being made by the Barbary pirates on the ocean, 

they could not find enough vessels to carry out the task and had to get twenty 

froir. Holland. It was particularly during the siege of La Rochelle, as has 

been said before, that Eishelieu felt the inferiority of the French war marine. 

After that he set aside a certain sued each year for the creation of a navy. 

From 1630 to 1634, the naval power of France gradually increased, 

and finally consisted of three large squadrons. As a result, the pirates 

were suppressed for the time being, and Spain was thrust aside, so far as her 

claims on the sea were concerned. "It was to be for France and for the 

great minister, who had increased hi3 country's reputation so much, a just 

subject of pride when their fleet of eighty-five V3=}33l3 passed triumphantly 


across the sea, where some ye^rs before .ih^ possessed a fleet less powerful 
than that of the smallest city of Italy. He must have realized that he had 
now in his possession the implement by which he could carry out many of his 
political and economic plans tc the glorious ends which his fertile brain 
had assigned to them. Up to the very last, he was occupied with this prob- 
lem, although hindered by financial difficulties. 3 

Thus the Cardinal saw his plans reach what seemed to be a successful 
conclusion. But death took him away just at the time when he was most needed. 
The splsniid fleet, like a flower nipped by an unexpected frost, dwindled 
away almost tc nothing after his departure. The good fruits of his work along 
this line were mostly temporary. No one took up this task, which he had 
so well begun, until the age of Colbert, and then it was too late. 

1 Caillet, 314. 

Sfettere^Hll, 292, 3C3. 


But before reaching a conclusion, it seems best to consider briefly 
the importance of his work 90 far as it concerns the navy of France. L. P. 
Forinier in the preface of his great work entitled "Richelieu" , writes with 
much enthusiasm concerning the progress of sea power under Louis XIII. "Fa- 
vored with the admiration of the world," he says to Louis XIII, to whom he ded- 
icated the book, "France now finds herself famous through your victories. 
She now sees the great navy and the harbors open to; receive and fortified to 
protect them, "'ell supplied magazines are established on both coasts. All of 

which is equally useful in the promotion of commerce, as well as warfare 

Your majesty's fleets have controlled tilings on the Mediterranean. Indeed, 
Spain has been forced to asknowledge the power of the French fleet, thus 
future glory must be approaching." 1 

M. "./lasson in his Hlatoire du Commerce Fraacaia eh X7II e Steele dans 
le Levant , continually emphasizes the point that it was the development 
of a navy under the Cardinal that kept up the Eastern trade of France with 
the Levant, which was on the decrease at that time, because of the lack of 
protection. ^ M. Sue also suns up the work of Richelieu very appropriately 
when he points out. the fact, that when the Cardinal built up the navy, he laid 
the foundations of a great and splendid system of military marine, which would 
serve as an offensive arm to combat the enemies of France, and as a shield 
or protection to aid her commerce, and thus by making transportation of goods 
safer he made them cheaper, which in turn aided in keeping up the cost of 
the war marine. 3 The Cardinal's economic turn of mind is very well illustrated 

1 Caillet, 315. 

%lasson, Eistoire du Commerce Franc ais.. dans le Levant, 117. 
3 Corresp. de Sourdis, I, Introduction, 7II-VIII. 


by the above passage. He evidently intended to pay for the marine by an 
increase of taxes on the objects whose prices were lowered "because of cheaper 
transportation. These taxes were, as a rule, borne by the merchants them- 
selves. "His system," says Sue, "was a marvelous exposition of thought, force, 
and solidarity J' 1 It was carried to extremes by those who came after him, 
so that, not being sufficiently supported by maritime commerce, the sea power 
of France died from lack of sailors, finances, defenses, and good harbors. 
Indeed, France just before the present war adopted an active policy of building 
up her war marine, and in dbing so has been influenced by the same motive 
which compelled Richelieu centuries ago to do likewise. 2 

After all, this phase of his administration is fundamentally econ- 
omic. "He," as Sue says, "wished, to give also a large development to com- 
merce, merchant navigation, and colonial enterprises. Interests upon which he 
intended to base the development of a military marine, preparing himself 
thus for the eventualities of a war during the intervals of peace. 3 The 
Cardinal knew that if be was to obtain the great state he desired, that France 
must be strong in trade, colonies, and in political influence. A war and mer- 
chant marine was the means by which thi3 was to be attained. It is certainly 
a pity that Colbert was not able to carry to a successful completion the 

^"Richelieu's ability with regard to the marine is nowhere better illus- 
trated than in the complete statement which he has left of all receipts and 
expenses connected with that phase of his administration, during the years 
1631 to 1639. It is a striking commentary upon the efficient financial ad- 
ministrative abilities of the man. See Corresp. de Sourdis, III, 359, etc. 

2 See Bracq, L.C., Franc e _unde r the Republic, N.Y., 1910, 34. M. Sracq 
points out the efforts of France to strengthen her fleet before the war, so as 
to be able to meet her rivals on equal terms, and also to be strong economi- 
cally, and thus protect her commerce and colonies from the possible insults 

of rival powers. 

3 Corresp. de Sourdis, I, Introduction, aXIX. 


future plans of the marine as set down in Richelieu's marina code. 1 If the 
Cardinal's ideas in regard to this phase of his administration had been 
carried out, the chances are that the subsequent colonial and commercial 
history of France would have beer, entirely different. Richelieu was constantly 

favoring those engaged in commerce. 2 Ee realized that it would benefit 
every individual in France. "France," he says, "will add in a short time 
to her natural aoundance what coar;.erce brings to the most sterile nation." 
He even went so far as to point out the fact that cheapness of food for work- 
men would be brought about through increased transportation facilities on 
rivers, etc. 4 There can be no doubt that he was preparing the marine, not 
only to oppose his great political rivals on the sea and protedt for the time 
being French traffic on the water, but also that he was looking fonvard to 
the time of peace, when he would be able tc found the great mercantile nation 
of which the marine would be the strong arm for defense, and possibly, for 
economic if not political aggression. 

^Pigeonneau, II, -rll-412 . In 1642, de la Porte, Intendant of commerce 
and navigation, was ordered to wfrite a general statistical account of the 
marine. (Richelieu was fond of statesmen.) Ke gave therein the laws and 
ordinances concerning the marine. It was really the sketch of a maritime 
code of which Richelieu's death prevented the achievement. See Corresp. de 
Sourdis, III, 321, etc. 

2 3ouraud, II, 195. 

^Tes tament Politique , II, 78-79. 

4 Ibii., II, 78. 


Chapter XI 



Before the age of Richelieu, France had accomplished very little 
along the lines of colonial development. Indeed the period in which he came 
into power was really the time when the settlement of North America, for 
example, was in its infancy, so that France had really not considered very 
seriously, -up to that time, the opportunity of carrying on colonial projects 
in the new continents. Outside of the beginning made by Champlain in 1608, 
very little had been accomplished. Furthermore, internal troubles, reli- 
gious wars, and unfriendly foreign relations all tended to prevent the pre- 
decessors of Henry IV from sending any expeditions of importance outside of 
the vicinity of France and Italy. On the other hand, other nations grew 
stronger on the seas and in colonial enterprises. Spain and Portugal rose 
for nearly a century, but fell about the time of the Armada in 1568. And then 
came the age when England and Holland gained rapidly on the sea. England 
took from France the cloth industry in the Hundred Years' Tar, and built 
up her state on a strong protective basis. The Banseatic league decayed and 
in its --dace rose Holland. Colonies in America, Africa, and Asia resulted 
from the growth in sea power of these nations, and they acquired wealth in 
consequence . 

In the Seventeenth Century came for France, the age of Henry IV, 

Levasseur, I, 275-277. 


Richelieu, and Colbert, and as a result colonial commerce underwent unprecedent- 
ed growth. What little colonial activity had occurred before the age of 
Henry IV was based on the motive of discovery and exploration, rather than 
of industry and settlement. But when Henry IV came to power, ir.ercantilistic 

ideas were just beginning to take a definite form, and the value of Colonies 

based A econo.i;ic motives entirely, began to be recognized by French statesmen. 
In other words, Henry IV and Richelieu simply applied in France the system 
inaugurated by England and Holland, namely, a plan of colonization founded 
upon the general interests and permanent needs of the country, and not upon such 
dreams as a search for the north-west passage, or some other particular 
interest, such as the religious basis of the colonization of Coligny.^ 

Inspired by the Colonial activities of England and Holland, both 
Henry IV and Richelieu tried to instil ideas in regard to the foundation of 
great colonization companies, which were more or less new to the French people. 
This was done "in order to make ourselves masters of the sea, and to form 
great companies, to encourage merchants to enter, and give great privileges 
to these companies as tfr37 ca^e into existence, just as foreigners have done."^ 
However, lacking money as was the case with England and Holland, the French 
government could not back the companies, but simply encouraged, guided and 
protected them, leaving in the hands of individuals the financial risks and 
the details of administration. 

Not much in a colonial way was accomplished by Henry IV. "Colonial 
enterprises lacked experience and national character," says one writer, "they 
were too local, weak in capital, and narrow in viewpoint to use tbeir privileg- 
es to the utmost. 3 As a matter of fact Henry IV did not live long enough to 

J-Pigeonneau, II, 322- ttt _ 

2D'Avenel, ^.onar ohie Absolue , III, 20°-210. 

3? igeo nneau7~ll, ^45. ~ 


form any definite colonial policy, so that it fell to Richelieu rather than 
to Henry IV to initiate definitely the true colonial expeditions of France. 

When the Cardinal came into power, he started immediately to build 
up the French nation into a strong political and economic state. Aided by the. 
accomplishments of Henry IV, and such ideas as are found in the work of 
Mont Chretien, 1 he made colonization apolitical and economic question, involv- 
ing the growth of France. 2 Thus this problem was treated with diplomatic 
reserve, ana as a consequence little was written concerning it by contemporary 
writers. However, it is known that Champlain and other well known advocates 

of colonization projects recognized in the Cardinal the true leader of this 


movement, and many memoirs, pro jects, A plans addressed to him concerning the 
marine indicate the interest shown by the people in this phase of his adminis- 
tration, and the recognition of his leadership in the undertakings to be 
carried out. Richelieu saw the advantages and difficulties in the way of 
colonial expansion on the part of France. He knew that he would have to face 
the opposition of England, Spain, and Holland on the sea. But that did not 
stop him, for as soon as he assumed the office cf the head of navigation and 
commerce, he began to plan a war and merchant marine and commie rcial companies, 
which were to settle and build up economically and politically new territorial 
possessions for France in America, Africa, and Asia. 

French works of jurisprudence distinguished in the 16th and 17th 
century, two kinds of companies of commerce. One kind formed by the associa- 
tion of many persons who unite in order to undertake a sort of commerce, in- 
cludes the association established by "lettres patente", or other public acts, 

i ?igeonneau, II, 360-363. 
fjDes champs, 82-83. 
°E esc harps, 87. 


with exclusive privileges to undertake in distant colonies. These 
are "les grandee compagnies de conferee", the companies whose form Richelieu 
followed during his administ ration. This was the plan in vogue at that time, 
the same that was carried out by England and Holland. "In order to become 
masters of the seas," Richelieu said, "it is necessary to see how our neigh- 
bors govern themselves, make great companies, and. oblige the merchants to enter 
them. Indeed the past failure of our companies is lack of great companies, 
and too many individual concerns with snail vessels, badly equipped, which 

are the prey of our allies etc." 1 It must be admitted that the Cardinal 

merely imitated the colonial policy of his opponents, in his efforts to build 
up France along that line. 

His principal aims in forming colonies were: (l) to establish and 
multiply colonies, to people them with French colonists, and maintain there 
the catholic religion to the exclusion of all others; (2) to enliven commerce 
and promote a war marine for protection, etc. It is interesting to note that 
Colbert borrowed this policy from him and completed it. "Indeed," says one 
writer, "people have not realized the important part played by Richelieu in 
colonial development, or have mixed his achievements and initative with that 
of Colbert. In the thoughts of Richelieu, the maritime and colonial supremacy 
of France holds a place eqval zo the idea that the Hapsbur^s must be ruined. 
These were the two threads, which were really connected and were to unite 
tc form the grandeur of France. 

""hen Richelieu came into power, he first turned his attention toward 

^Memoirs, XXIII, 258. 
^Eonassieux, 5. 
•^Des champs, 74-76. 


the problems of the sea and colonization. For example, in 1625 he addressed 
to Louis XIII a law for the sea, and a mamoir, which contained his new ideas, 
namely, to build up the marine as a preparatory measure of which colonization 
was to be the end. 1 "In 1626," says Deschamps, "Richelieu received five 
memoirs or letters on the state of comiiierce and the marine . He was himself 
the author or the source of inspiration of a great number of contracts, letter 
reports, and statistics having the same object. * Among the memoirs, two are 
of special interest, one by a Chevalier Isaac de Eazilly, and an anonymous 
memoir of November 26, 1626. De Eazilly pointed out the need of navigation 
in spite of opinions to the contrary. He advocated clearly the advantages 
of the exchange of goods, and the adaptability of the French for carrying 
on long voyages. (Evidently there was opposition to any commercial policy 
France might engage in at this time.) Then he outlined a plan of reform con- 
cerning navigation and colonies, exactly similar to that which Richelieu and 
Colbert followed. 

In the first place, France was to regain her sea power and make 
conquests ani establish trade all over the world. Also, men were to be en- 
couraged to undertake navigation, nobles who participated we re to retain their 
rank, and merchants were to be ennobled because of their accomplishments in 
this particular field. Companies were to be founded in which the King, the 
ministers, the princes of the blood, and great seigneurs should be interested, 
as well as individual cities and the clergy as a class. With an enlarged 

betters, II, 16:3-167. 
^Deschamps, 88. 


fleet, France was to establish friendly relations with Morocco, and commerce 
should be fostered with Africa, in the Levant, and on the Baltic Sea, as well 
as with England, Asia, and the East Indies, by means of a powerful company. 
Colonies were to be established in the Americas, and according to the anonymous 
memoir, in the Fast Indies as well. 1 These two memoirs, which were in har- 
mony with the policy of Richelieu and Colbert, looked forward to the fall 
of Spain and Portugal, and the rise of France in commerce and navigation in 
the Orient, the Mediterranean, and Asia. In other words, the downfall of the 
Fapsburgs was to be a necessary prelude to the rise of France as a comnercial 
power. This likely wa3 one of the guiding forces behind the rivalry of the 
Bourbon and Hapsburg houses at this tine. Colonization was an important phase 
of governmental administration, and the fact that the King in 1626 gave a 
great masquerade ball tc which the fur-trading companies sent representatives 
dressed in the native costumes of the people of the various colonies and 
trading stations of France . indicates, in a way, the intense interest dis- 
played by French society in the economic affairs of their country.* There was 
a little opposition tc Richelieu's comnercial policy, but it was spoken, 
not written. ^ 

The Cardinal outlined his program from the very start. "Indeed," 
says Mathieu Mole', a contemporary in one of his memoirs, "the Cardinal Wished 
to present to the assembly of notables in 1627 some new edicts concerning the 
state of the marine, trade, and navigation, in order to justify his position 
as head of the Kingdom. He established by means of an edict, a perpetual 

^Deschamps, 90-93. 

3 Mercure Francais , XII, 187-190. 

^De3champs, 131. 


navy of forty-five vessels, which he said would return the French wer marine 
to its former state of splendor. He al90 wished tc create some important 
companies tc which he would grant privileges. He then appointed me tc examine 
the first proposition which was made by Nicholas "'itte, Jean du Meurier, 
esquire, and other French and Flemish merchants, who have formed a company 
called, 'La Nacelle de Saint Pierre Fleurdelisse ' , with the purpose of estab- 
lishing in France an immense trade in all merchandise which enters into com- 
merce, of introducing fisheries, of building vessels, and other uncommon duties, 
and finally of increasing in value many lands and colonies which have not 
returned much profit hitherto." 1 This company was to build up not only French 
colonies, but France itself. 

The text of the agreement adopted by the Cardinal with respect to 
this company is found in the notes or memoirs of Mathiew Mole. Since it gives 
a correct idea of all that relates to the external or internal commerce and of 
the great industries, it 3eems best tc give the principal articles of the 
contract, especially since all the companies formed by Richelieu conforrr.ed 
more or less rigidly to this type. 

I. The heads of the company were to take over 40G families within 
a month of the day of negotiating the agreement. These families were tc be 
composed of persons suitable fcr commerce, fishing, manufacturing, and agricul- 
ture. Besides this, there were to be sent no less than twelve vessels com- 
pletely equipped for the expedition. By so doing, the aforesaid conpany would 

X Mole' Mathiew, Memo ires, 4 vols., Paris, 1855, I, 422-448. 
Mole', I, 422-448. 


be allowed tc trade both by seas, rivers, and the land, to establish 
fisheries upon the sea, and manufacturing concerns of all sorts, to plant 
sugar cane and refine sugar, to work mines, tc make porcelain vessels and 
crockery by the methodsof the Indies and of Italy, and finally, to use all 
other resources and manufactures which they recognize. 

II. All Flemings, Hollanders, and others who went over to the 
colonies were to be regarded as Frenchmen and enjoy all their rights. 

III. Rewards were offered to those who invested money in the company 
or worked on behalf of it. The crown intended to honor those who took up the 
work, more than ever before, in order to attract persons who were capable of 
ailing the proposition in any way. People of every condition, clergy, nobles, 
and officials, could enter and put their money into the company without injur- 
ing their position or endangering their privileges. Indeed, in order to aid 
industry and colonization, His Majesty was to ennoble thirty-two persons, 
whether they were Frenchmen or foreigners, who would enter the company during 
the first year of its establishment, and iout at least 5000 pounds into its 
funds without having the power to withdraw the money for six years, and also 
those who did not put any capital into the enterprise, but who ievoted all 
their ability and energy to the advancement of the aforesaid company. 

IV. His Majesty wa3 to give the company two sites not occupied as 
yet, one on the ocean, the other on the I'/Iediterraman. They were to have the 
power to build houses of business in those places. In each of these a market 
place wa3 to be established with fairs (two yearly fairs of eight days each) , 
etc. All inhabitants should be exempt from the payment of the aides, tailles, 
etc., which fell upon other ports. 


Articles V and VI provided for the government and the working of 
the mines in those territories, in which the colonies were to have supreme 
rights, subject only to the final decision of the "grand master of conmerce w , 
who was Richelieu. 

VII. All vagabonds, beggars, petty criminals, etc., were to be taken 
by His Majesty's orders into the employ of the company. 

VIII. Hi3 Majesty was to allow the company to undertake voyages 
abroad, to establish colonies at advisable places, even in Canada and New France 
to conquer lands beyond those which were under the control of His Majesty, 

to use them for the profits of the aforesaid company, to which full and entire 
possession was given, on condition that they should be faithful and swear 
homage to His Majesty. The latter permitted there to trade with all companies 
which were not declared enemies of the Kingdom, and even countries like Eussia, 

Norway, Sweden, and Hamburg The articles of agreement which were made 

with the latter nations, were to be communicated to Richelieu as superintendent 
of commerce and navigation. Finally, "if the directors of the company should 
discover new lands, they could enjoy the fruits of then: separate from the 
other colonies . " 

The principal articles of this agreement have been given, because 
they indicate the main ideas of the Cardinal's policy toward colonization. 
It shows first that he desired to develop the colonies. It illustrates the 
fact that he desired to found possessions, which were to be almost self-govern- 
ing, with this one exception,- they were to be responsible to the chief of 
commerce and navigation in France. In fact, Richelieu put himself at the head 
of almost all commercial companies founded at that time. Masson criticizes 
Mchelieu because he made the colonial companies too centralized, and forced 


them all to depend on the government of France as a final authority. Yet the 
agr.eeir.ent cited above seems to give the colonies plenty of leeway in which to 
develop without the interference of the home power. 

But, before generalizing concerning Richelieu's colonial policies, it 
is well to look into the actual accomplishments of the Cardinal in that 
particular field of his administrative duties. 

The company whose charter has just been quoted failed simply because 
of the lack of credit and funis to maintain it. Furthermore, the directors 
did not carry out their promises and sought only to profit by the monopoly whi^l 
they poseessed and from which the?/ derived temporary gains. They kept up the 
project with one purpose in view, namely, to sell to the colonists who had been 
sent over, goods at a high price, and to buy furs from them as cheaply as pos- 
sible. Champlain never ceased to protest against the attitude of the directors 
toward the 2olonist3.2 He himself desired to found a colony which would take 
up the thrsefold. purpose of colonization, namely, agriculture, conversion 
of the natives, and commerce. The only result of his plans was the establish- 
ment of new fur-trading stations in North America. But there is another 
explanation for the failure of the company. It was too extreme in its scope 
and plans . It proposed a thousand things to do and a thousand ends to achieve. 
It wished to establish fisheries, exploit nines, drain marshes, develop both 
foreign and domestic commerce, colonize the v 'e3t Indies, etc. It was a uni- 
versal company, but fell before it got really started. It was a society which 
wished to embrace all, but it could not organize itself. It was perhaps too 

^-Masson, Histoire du comaierce Francais dans le Levant , 174. 
2 Caillet, 337; Zeller, Eishelieu, 184. 
Bonassieux, 363. 


u.od9rn in its purpose. 

The company of Morbihan was the next to be formed in 1626. It got 
its name from a port in Brittany, in which its counting offices were estab- 
lished. A group of men called "the Hundred Associates" signed the agreement, 
so that it was often called "The Hundred Associates" company. Its articles 
provided for a fort at Morbihan, 100 vessels, a capital of 1,600,000 livres and 
the monopoly of the commerce of the East and the .Levant by land and by sea. 
Indeed, such was the magnitude of its designs that Kichelieu says that the 
English and Dv.tch were alarmed, fearing that the King by that means would soon 
make himself master of the sea. 2 Spain had no less fear for her Inlies and 
well might have, when one reads in Pdchelieu's Testament Politique the state- 
ment, that the only way to obtain a footing in the "'est Indies, is by driving 
the Spanish out by means of a war. 3 However, this company came to naught, 
because of the failure of the local Parlement to register the edict creating 
it, arising fraii a conflict between it and the local estates general of the 
orovince in which Morbihan was located.^ Yet the formation of this company 
hai important results in that herein one finds de Razilly's idea realized; 
namely, that colonial enterprises should be participated in by all. Herein 
is apparent the disinterested stand taken by the Cardinal with respect to 
colonization. In return for all the advantages given the company, Eichelieu 
demanded only one thing, namely, that it would make the greatest and most rapid 

Levasseur, 261-282. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 127. 

^ Testament Politique , II, Chapter I, sec. VI, 71. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 128. 
5 Deschamps, 88-91. 


fort-one that was possible, and in whatever manner it wished, either by fish- 
eries, by boat building, or by cultivating the soil of the colonies or by 
establishing some manufactures, etc. "It was an admirable example of broad 
and decisive views which indicate the correct judgment of the great man in 
all affairs of state," says one writer. 1 This company likewise did not suc- 
ceed, apparently because of the fact that the people of France were not capa- 
ble of commercial enterprises at that time. However, Eichelieu went on and 
formed other colonies, not a bit discouraged by past failures. One might say, 
that it is important to remember that this company was the prototype of the 
Fast India company of a later date. 

Richelieu now turned his attention to America. Various attempts 
had been made to settle that country before his time, and there was no little 
interest to -:e found in France concerning this far-away land of promise. The 
first trips by Frenchmen were those of James Cartier, Robeval , etc, from 
1524 to 1599. In 1541 the first attempt at a permanent establ ishment was 
made by Robeval . It was abandoned the next year. Various companies began 
to be formed to settle in Canada. As a result a company was formed in 1602 
of the leading traders of Dieppe, Rouen, and La Rochelle, with fur trade privi 
leges, etc. Explorations were made under the leadership of one especially 
notable man, Chamolain. In 1603 Sieur De Monts became chief of the colony 
of Canada, and was to give the King one sixteenth of the product of the mines. 
In 1606, in addition to the fur trade, the farming and exploration of the 
new territory began to be considered seriously. Some new explorations had 
made hnown the fertility of the soil. In 1508, Champlain //as sent out by a 
company with three vessels, who repeopled Port Royal and folded Quebec. 

^■Goaraud, I, 197. Concerning this Company see Letters, II, 346-349; 
Mer cure Francois , XII, 44, etc.; Memoirs, XXIII, 127. 


But failure to take \:p the agricultural side in the colonies and constant 
opposition on the part of Holland prevented any of the French colonial plans 
from achieving a substantial measure of success before 1527. 

At this time a new company was formed callei the company of the 
Hundred Associates of New France or Canada. This company, which lasted longer 
than any other of Richelieu's crsation, was granted its charter in an edict 
issued by Hichelieu when he was before La Rochelle.^ Many merchant traders and 
other rich persons had proposed to form companies to sttpport the colonies 
already there, ani to establish new ones in the vast and little known country. 
It was to these first associates that the King by his edict, conceded the 
following privileges and conditions: the company must send two or three hun- 
dred men of all trades, and duiring the following fifteen years, four thousand 
persons of both sexes. The company should support the inhabitants for three 
years. No foreigners or Protestants should be among them. Furthermore, three 
churchmen should be in each habitation, etc. Homage was to be raid to the 
King, and a crown of gold to the weight of eight marks, should be given him. * 

In return for these requirements, the company was to have the follow- 
ing privileges: full proprietorship of Quebec with all the land reaching from 
Florida to the Arctic region, including the land of the Paint Lawrence river. 
It received the cession of all mines and minerals discovered, the right 

to build fortresses, monopoly of the fur trade and other commerce, etc Fishing 
we re 

rights to be open to all the King's subjects. The King was to give two war 

Eonas s i eux , 35C-351 . 


vessels, exemption from euttome, ani finally the principal personages were 

to receive letters of nobility. * 

However, in scite of the encouragement given the colonies by the 

government, they failed in the end because of the fact that they tried to 


buy from their colonists r^oods at a cheap price, and sell A thein at a dear price. 
This was also the case with the natives, who preferred to trade with the 
English and Dutch which gave them better prices. Then there was a lack of sup- 
port in the mother country easily to be explained by the difficulties con- 
fronting France during this period. As a result, the Dutch soon obtained most 
of the commerce with the natives, ani in 1629, the English captured Quebec 
and the surrounding territory. 

In 1632, Champlain pointed out to Richelieu the necessity for the ! 
restitution of New France to the mother country. 1 ^ As a result, the Cardinal 
sent six armed vessels across the .Atlantic and compelled the English to cede 
it back. Thus in 1^33, the company of New France reentered upon all its 
former rights. Champlain as head of the French colony built up the settlement 
and companies to a degree never before attained. In 1640, "Montreal was 
founded and a fort called Fort Richelieu was established just above where 
Quebec is at present, so that by the time of Richelieu' s death, the French 
possessions in North America had a good start, and :'.t was not due to any direct 
fault of his that they failed in the end. 

M. Caillet, in accounting for the decline of the colonies places 
the blame on the cupidity of the merchants, who neglecti-d agriculture for a 

1 Isambert, XVI, 221-222. 

%lercu re Francois, XIV, 61, 232-240. Gives a complete account of the 
colony including a discussion of its control by means of a board of directors, 
etc . 

3 Caill^t 342-345, Dumont.J. Corps Universal. Diplomatique du Droit des 
Gens. 8 vols.| Supplement, 5 vols. /met. et La Haye, (1726-1739), l ,41-32. 


selfishly conducted fur trade. Furthermore , religious influences had a 
tendency to injure the economic development of the colonies. Too much empha- 
sis was placed on religion tc the neglect of agriculture. 1 The competition of 

and of 

the English and Dutch for the Indian trade, the governors and the colonists, 
coupled with increasing neglect of the colonies by the home government, after 
Richelieu 1 s time, all tended tc ruin the bright future of the French possession 
in America. Indeed, one can not explain the failure of French colonial policy 
at this tlae as being due to Richelieu's centralized system of settlements. 
There are too many other incidents which go to make up a logical account <f 
its failure . 

No better example of the difficulties confronting the Cardinal with 
relation to foreign opposition is to be found than in his efforts to secure 
a foothold in the "'est Indies and South America. 4 company of the Antilles 
was formed in spite of the opposition of Spain and Portugal, who claimed sole 
command of the seas surrounding that particular part of the world. Then one 
finds the question of the sea coming up for the first time in French history. 
The latter country in alliance with Holland (the famous work of G-rotius, 'are 
Liberum, ax^reared in 1608) affirmed with energy the freedom of the seas. 
Thus began the conflict between interests and doctrines which continues up to 
the present time. In this particular case, it prevented France from doing 
anything in a colonial way, either in South America or the "est Indies. 
However, in 1625, the French and English established a colony on the island 

Pigeonneau, II, 430-431. He defends Richelieu's policy in excluding 
the Protestants from Colonies because of their constant efforts to form 
alliances with the enemies of France. 


of "Saint-Christophe" , which was destroyed by the Spanish, and revived by the 
French later on. 1 Other islands as Guadeloupe , Martinique, Dominique, etc., 
were occupied by the French. A settlement was made even in Guiana. "Indeed," 
says one writer, "the French in their settlements in the ,,7 est Indies, gave 
proof of the brilliant qualities, perseverence , and initiative never exhibited 
before."* 1 But the important thing to notice is the fact, that French and 
Bpanish Colonial interests were conflicting very sharply during the Thirty 
Years r ar, and this mu3t have certainly had more or less influence on the di- 
plomatic relations betwsen the two countries. France was out for a world 
colonial empire during Richelieu' s administration. 

About the time the French were colonizing America, they were also 
undertaking the task of assuming close relations with the Orient. Missionaries 
were the means by which their efforts were to be made successful. The famous 
Father Joseph was named by the ^ope in 1525, director of missions in the 
Levant; and that nomination, together with the office of "grand master of 
navigation, etc.," acquired by Bichelieu about the same time, is direct evi- 
dence as to their aims in regard tc colonial and commercial expansion. Of 
course religion was the prime motive of this movement in Asia, but it is in- 
teresting to note that the French Jesuits sent into China, Japan, Persia, etc., 
were also diplomatic agents of the government. 

The first society formed to trade in the East Indies was formed by 
Henry IV in 1504, with exclusive rights for fifteen years. It had the port 
of Brest and was otherwise favored bj the government. The jealousy of other 

^igeonneau, II, 434-435; Isambert, X ,r l, 421, 540-551. 
2 Ibii., II, 439. 
3 Deschamps, 102-105. 


nations prevented this company from buying the necessary equipment from them. 
Thus it did not really start at all. Letters patent, however, in 1615, gave 
the company a new lease of life, and brave adventurers from Dieppe visited 
the Indies and * aiagascar. 1 Finally in 1642, Eichelieu granted several indi- 
viduals exclusive privileges in the East Indies fcr ten years. So it is quite 
evident that France definitely began her East India policy at this time. 

Settlements were established even in .Africa. Senegal especially 
attracted the attention of the French. In 1521-1626 a colony was formed, which 
was under the protection of the Cardinal, and which had as its purpose the 
colonization of the land, in that territory. 2 To carry this out, Richelieu 
even sent Admiral de Razilly with a squadron to aid in the work, but it was 
of no avail, fcr the company had to be replaced in 1633 by a new one composed 
of the merchants of Rouen and Dieppe, who obtained permission to trade for ten 
years at Cape Verde and upon the rivers in Senegal. Various other similar 
organizations were formed, but nothing of especial importance can be obtained 
from a study of French colonization in Africa at this time, except that a 
foundation for French influence in that continent was laid, which might have 
amounted to more than it did, and only recently has been built upon. 

However, one colony settled at this time seems to have been more 
or less permanent, and that was the one established on the island of Madagascar. 
Many attempts had been made during the reign of Henry IV and during the first 
year of the rule of Louis XIII, to found settlements on this and neighboring 
islands. Indeed, there was another purpose involved in the establishment 

Isambert, XVI, 78-83. 
2 Caillet, 352-358. 


of a colons'- here besides mere colonization. The French intended to establish 
trade With the East Indies, using this possession as a base or half way house, 
and this made them all the mere persistent in their attempts to possess the 
island. On March 2, 1611, Louis XIII granted permits to several men which 
gave to them the exclusive right to settle these lands and begin trade. They 
bad besides a monopoly in all commerce carried on with the East Indies for the 
next twelve years. But as they made no use of that privilege, the merchants 
of F.ouen resolved to take it away from them. They offered to carry on that 
trade and develop it to the fullest extent, as they had the facilities to do 
so if they had the chance. ^ However, the first company opposed any inter- 
ference with their rights, and claimed that they were doing the best they 
could, considering the obstacles which were erected by the foreign neighbors 
of France. As a result of all this, the various companies and claimants to 
their rights were united by the government into one concern. 

This affair illustrates the direct control of the government over th 
various companies. Whether it was for the best is a matter about which all 
are not agreed. The chief argument against the centralized form of colonial 
government is the assertion that this system curbs individual initiative among 
the settlers, an I among the various communities. They leave everything for th 
government to carry out, and indeed they must do so, for they are given no 
chance to exercise many important duties, nn the other hand, others maintain 
that lack of capital, imposition of the catholic religion on every company, 
and the foreign political difficulties of France all explain her failure 

Bailie t, 553-355. 


to make full use of her opportunities with regard to fostering colonial 
development . 

The grant establishing this united organization stated that its 
members should undertake the navigation of the East Indies, maintain its pro- 
tection and enjoy its privileges. The fleet of Montmorency was to .defend 
all the subjects of the King, as well as the interests of the company, and to 
undertake any necessary trips from the coast to the Cape of Good Hope during 
this space of twelve years, in order to aid commerce. However, in spite 
of this liberal charter and t e various attempts made to settle the East 
Indies, the plan failed in 1620, because of the pressure of the Dutch in that 
part of the worla. 

Finally, the company decided to place a colony on the island of 
Madagascar, in the hope that if they could found a powerful settlement there, 
it would serve to aid them in further expeditions to the Indies. So they went 
back to the original plan which had been changed when the different coloniz- 
ing organizations had been united. However, internal disturbances in France, 
which took place in 1631, prevented them from carrying out this plan. 

In 163S, another attempt was made by a man from Eouen to found a 
colony in Madagascar, and he left a very interesting account of a voyage to 
that island. 1 Finally, a new company was formed January 24, 1642, which 
obtained from the Cardinal the exclusive privilege of sending into the island 
of Madagascar and other adjacent islands the members of the organization, to 
establish colonies and take possession in the name of the King.* As a result, 
in the month of May a ship was sent to the islands, and they took formal 

1 Caillet, 355-357. 
2 Ibid., 357-358. 


possession. Thus Madagascar was at last a real possession of France and a 
way was prepared for further settlement. This was ths last colonizing 
project started by Richelieu and it is certainly interesting to note that 
this phase of his administration interested him up to the very end. He 
acknowledged its importance, '''hat were the general results of all the effort 
of Richelieu and his co-workers along this line? 

"Geographical knowledge was extended if nothing else," says one 
writer in relating the results of the colonial efforts of France during this 
period. "Eichelieu himself," he says, "aided a man named Samson to found 
a geographical school at that time* But there were other gains more impor- 
tant than thsse, especially on the economic side. 

r 'hen one looks over the field of the colonial activities unierta. v en 
during Eichelieu 1 s time, he must conclude that very little had been accom- 
plished on the material side. It seems that all the efforts of the Cardinal 
were in vain, and while Holland, England, and Spain were forging ahead in 
their colonial development and commercial activities, France was doing 
scarcely anything along these lines- Yet on the other hand she had really 
done something worth while, for she had at least made a start, which was not 
too late and would have amounted to much more than it did, if the Cardinal 
had lived to carry out his plans to their final conclusion. He deserves 
great credit for the part he played in the colonial development of France. 
In spite of many internal troubles, such as the relations of the government 
and nobles, and his complicated foreign policies, he was always interested 
in planting new French settlements on great unoccupied continents, and he 

Caillet, 358. 


not only aided in the different colonization enterprises during the first part 
of his rule, but also up to the very last. 

Finally, one must not forget that this .reat man died before he could 
carry out his ideas as regards this part of his administration. His Testament 
Politique clearly indicates that he realized the aivanta^e of colonial develop- 
ment as keenly as French statesmen did just before the present war. 1 Fur- 
thermore, he looted ahead and foresaw the future rivalry with England upon 
the sea. It is indeed unfortunate that he could not have lived to see the 
dawn of peace in Europe, so that he could have carried out his entire economic 
program, of which the formation of colonies was one important part. 

However, a number of writers criticize Richelieu's colonial policy, 
not without justice. 3ut they do not look at it with reference to the other 
difficulties confronting the Cardinal at that time. Masson thought that it 
was entirely too centralized, and D'Avenel, referring to one of his edicts 
concerning the formation cf a colonial company, says, "that it is a source 
of profound astonishment to me to see a mind as clear and practical as 
Richelieu's in diplomatic and military organization, attempt to carry out his 
dreams of that most peculiar economic despotism which modern people call 
state socialism," (which is more or less popular at the present time.) "'The 
edict of Morbihan is one which all France seeks,' says the Cardinal, whose 
execution is alone capable of putting the Kingdom in a state of splendor. 
'The proclamation, ' he continues, 'alarms already the English and the Dutch, 
who fear that he will make himself master of the sea. Spain is afraid of us 
also, for she fears the loss of her Indian possessions.'" 2 This would indicate 

Tes tament Politique , II, Chapter I, 64-80. 
Wvenel, Monarchic Ab solus , III, 208-217. 


that Eichelieu saw the colonial struggles that lay ahead; and wished to pre- 
pare for them in the best possible ways. Since individual capital to found 
colonies was lacking, support by the government seemed to him to be the only 
logical way, in spite of the fact that colonization is essentially due to 
individual effort rather than royal plans. In other words, it is not the 
general economic policy of the Cardinal relating to this branch of his admin- 
istration whic : is at fault, but the Method he used of carrying them into 
execution by means of the granting of monopolies to certain companies, respon- 
sible only to the central power of France, "His colonial policy," says 
one writer, "was marred by the practice, common to ail statesmen of the day, 
of intrusting colonial enterprises entirely to exclusive companies. These 
corporations, by which privileged individuals were protected at the general 
expense of the body of consumers, were extremely unsuccessful in French 
hands, partly through their excessive dependence upon the state parentage 
and control, and partly through their total neglect of agriculture and the 
consequent failare to form permanent and prosperous French settlements."^" 
In other words, the chief criticism of the French colonial policy is that 
it contained too much exclusive monopoly and not enough individual action; 
too much emphasis upon conversion of the natives and not enough attention 
paid to the economic side of colonial development. In short, the failure of 
the French colonies can be laid to, (l) artificial imitation, (2) religious 
narrowness, (3) too much on aid to the state, and not enough emphasis upon 
commerce and colonization. Furthermore, the companies themselves are to 
blame to a certain extent for the weak colonial policy of France, because 

Lodge, Richelieu, 173. 


of (1) bad administrative direction, (2) premature distribution of dividends, 
(3) lack of capital and credit, (4) bad economic organizations. 

Indeed in view of the numerous difficulties confronting Richelieu 
in this phase of his administration one wonders he accomplished what he did. 
The very fact that the French people were unsuited for colonial efforts, and 
that numerous internal troubles, financial and industrial for instance, a3 
well as Richelieu's involved foreign policies, indicates the magnitude of the 
task which the Cardinal confronted. Yet Richelieu's thoughts were constantly 
turned toward this field of activity. Whenever there was a lull in political 
and internal affairs, or when he was offered any favorable opportunity, he 
did his best to found successful colonies in the new lands. 

Seeley, in one of his books, maintains that the colonists were 
subject to a multitude of strict regulations from which they would have been 
free if they hai remained in France, Also France lost a large 

part of her population in wars and in the expulsion of the Huguenots, and 
came to be on the verge of financial ruin, so that as a result she had not 
the means to develop colonization. "One might say," he says in another place, 
"that France lost her colonies in a series of unsuccessful wars, but, like 
Spain she had too many irons in the fire." 

However, Richelieu should not be censured for hi3 part in the 
development of French settlements. Even though his policy may not have had 
important commercial results, yet it is far from having been worthless. It 
is the beginning of French colonization and that indeed is of first rate 
importance." 5 He made a good start, which, if it had been carried out, would 

1 Seeley, J. H. , The Expansion of England , London, 1891, 7S 
2 Ibii., 110. 
3 Levasseur, I, 289. 


possibly have given France a great empire, other things being equal. If the 
Cardinal had lived a little longer tilings might have been different, but 
this is a matter of conjecture. He was trying to work up an interest in 
colonies by means of inspiring accounts concerning them, published in his 
Bttfjfenrg F ranc ois . Puolic opinion was aroused, as A illustrated by the numerous 
publications made at this time concerning the colonies. 2 A few years of 
peace might have brought about a great change in the colonial position of 
France. But it is only within the last century that France has been able to 
do anything in regard to colonization. And thus the general policies of 
Richelieu have been revived at the present day, and so are doubly important 
as constituting a force which is now continuing. That Richelieu deserves 
more credit than he has obtained for his work in behalf of French colonization, 
that whatever weaknesses existed in his charters granted to colonists were 
of minor importance, an.i finally, that the foundation laid by this man which 
would have resulted in the erection of a strong and powerful imperial edi- 
fice was ruined by the inaptitude of the French people and the faults of 
those who came after him, are the main conclusions to be drawn from a study 
of this phase of his career. 

JDeschattpB, 129-1 30. 
2 Ibii.. 103-115. 


Chapter XII 


Richelieu came to power at a time when foreign commerce was in 
its infancy and the world was just beginning to awake to its importance. 
"To Richelieu as well as Cromwell and other great people of his time," says 
Bridges, "war and foreign conquest were no longer the primary occupations 
of rulers. When they engaged in it they saw, dimly indeed, and inconsequently, 
hut still they saw, the two grand tendencies of the modern world; peaceful 
industry in the temporal sphere and morality based upon the unfettered 
thoughts in the spiritual." 1 Thus the Cardinal was bound to be influenced 
by this phase of his administration. 

One of the first of the more important events in the administration 
of the Cardinal was his appointment as "grand master and general superinten- 
dent of navigation and commerce" in October, 1526. By this act, the old 
offices which dealt with matters of the marine and commerce were abolished, 
and all power with regard to these two factors in the French development 
was concentrated in the hands of the Cardinal. That title did not give 
him the actual command of the naval forces, but it did confer on him an 
administrative authority with regard to these duties which extended over the 
entire Kingdom. 2 He became really a minister of commerce and the colonies. 
Every means of developing the external policy of France was to originate 
through his commands. He was the dictator of that part of the administration. 
As has been shown, he did not occupy himself so directly with industry, 

A Bridges, 63. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 194-197. 


agriculture, interior commerce, or the finances. He left these activities 
in the hands of subordinate officials. 1 Indeed too much emphasis cannot 
he laid on the fact that Richelieu specialized in the external economic and 
political policies of the nation. That accounts to a certain extent for 
the meager results obtained from his internal policies. Its failure was not 
due to lack of ability on Richelieu's part. 

Richelieu at this time had the assembly of notables understand 
not only that he was at the head of commerce but that he was going to develop 
it and enrich his people and state thereby. 2 In other words, at the begin- 
ning of the Cardinal's administration, he decided to do all he could in his 
official capacity to develop a great trade for France. This is remarkable 
when one considers the other problems which confronted him at that time. 

In 1627, a certain code of ordinances called the "Code Michaud", 
was introduced. Richelieu, although an enemy of Michaud, accepted most of 
these ordinances, one fifth of which dealt with commerce. In this code the 
manufactures of silk, were to be encouraged by forbidding the importation of 
foreign goods. Exportations should be aided and companies of commerce should 
be established and encouraged. Nobles should retain their rank if they 
engaged in commerce, and, as mentioned before, the privilege of nobility 
could be conferred on traders under certain conditions. 3 Indeed, Richelieu 
in trying to carry out these ordinances, really prepared the way for a great 
expansion of French commerce, which would no doubt have taken place except 
for internal and external wars. 

Richelieu had known even before he came to power that Spain, Hol- 
land, and other nations had increased in commercial importance, and France 

Jpigeonneau, II, 389-390. 
^Mercure Fran c ois , XII, 359 . 

aSee chapterTand Chapter XI, Tramhart, XVI, a73-27p. 


had been left far behind. It was for the latter to imitate them and through 
supreme efforts to become their rivals on the seas. 1 Thus his initial efforts 
all carry out his original aims. 

Richelieu encountered many difficulties in his attempts to develop 
commerce. In the first place, as stated above, such nations as England, 
Holland, and Spain were far ahead of France in this phase of a nations strength, 
The English even required all French goods to be sent to England in English 

vessels. On the other hand the Dutch seemed to carry all the French trade 


with the northern countries. In the Levant alone the French flag dominated 
the carriage of commerce. But there also this supremacy was endangered by 
England and Holland. 

Therefore in order to aid French development of foreign commerce 
certain laws such as that which laid a duty on foreign vessels, or such as 
that which prohibited the exportation of wool and the importation of cloths, 
were passed. These changes had a tendency to aid not only in the development 
of manufactures in France but also in the growth of French commerce. 4 The 
creation of a large marine of course was another important factor in the solu- 
tion of the problem of commercial growth. It is interesting to note that 
Richelieu in his commercial policy followed out the ideas of Montchretien 
to the letter. It was of course a narrow nationalistic policy, which was 
based only on the idea of French grandeur and strength. In the latter part 
of Richelieu's administration, he changed his ideas along this line. One 

A Gouraud, I, 157-188. 
2 Pigeonneau, II, 406-407. 
3 Corresp. de Sourdis, III, 171-174. 
4 Cahlers de Normandie, III, 270-277. 


writer thinks that he permitted trade with the enemies of France and abol- 
ished the restrictions on trade with England because of war conditions. 1 
For instance, during the war he did not fear the introduction of English 
cloth into France. Furthermore, a loss of trade with England, Spain, or 
Holland because of restrictions would have been a bad thing for both sides. 
However, the Cardinal changed his theoretical views also regarding the value 
of a marine protective policy, as will be shown later. 2 He realized toward 
the last that there was such a thing as one nation'ssending goods to another 
and obtaining goods for itself. In other words, Richelieu was not a firm 
believer in the strict mercantilists theory of a favorable balance of gold. 

However, Richelieu had internal as well as external troubles in 
his efforts to build up commerce. For example, numerous towns and provinces 
with ancient privileges objected to his efforts to build vessels in their 
ports. "Les Messieurs de Saint-Malo M refused to allow the King to construct 
some vessels in their ports. It was contrary to their franchises, they 
said.** The Cardinal showed them that it was to the interest of their com- 
merce to do so and promised further to increase their franchises. He conclud' 
ed by saying that he was working for the interests of French commerce, which 
was so necessary in order to make France strong and flourishing. 4 Richelieu 
was perfectly willing to aid local cities by subjecting foreign traders and 
goods to high imports, etc., but he was not willing to have them establish 
independent marines, etc. This was a matter for the central government. 5 

^Pigeonneau, II, 414-415. 
niercure Francois , XXIII, 390-393. 

^lontchretien, Introduction, XC-XCVI 

betters, II, 381. 

^DeMBchamps, 135. 




Thus developed an interesting economic struggle between local privileges 
and the growing spirit of centralization. 

Contrary to the demands of Rouen, the city of Marseilles complained 

to Richelieu not only of heavy impositions laid upon them, and slight protec- 


tion afforded them, hut also A the lack of protection and aid to foreigners 
whose trade they desired. In other words, while both Rouen and Marseilles 
desired instant efforts made to repress piracy, the former desired the for- 
eigners in France to be repressed while the latter wanted encouragement to be 
offered to foreign commerce. 1 The problems of Richelieu were indeed intri- 
cate. The only thing he could do was to consider the interest of the nation 
as a whole and adjust his policy toward individual cities accordingly. 

Now the Cardinal did not neglect the commercial problems in France. 
He sent, for example, M. de Lauson, who was employed by him in a high position 
in affairs of commerce and of the colonies, to investigate commercial condi- 
tions, and had him return to consult concerning remedies which would aid both 
the King and his subjects. 2 In other words, the Cardinal investigated commer- 
cial problems and attempted to bring about better conditions with respect 
to both consuls and other officials connected with commerce, and foreign rela- 
tions. 3 He even went so far as to send instruction with regard to the desti- 
nations of cargoes, etc., of French convoys. 4 At another time, in 1627, he 
wrote a letter asking M. A.M. Le Bauigy for a report on the state of commerce. 

■"•Deschamps, 136-137. 
betters, II, 345. 
Censure Francois , XII, 782-784. 
^Letters, II, 504-506. 


He assures him that merchants shall be given all reasonable privileges and 
aid. 1 For exainple, in compliance with these promises he tried in 1627 to 
establish a company of merchants in the capital city of each province, for the 
purposes of navigation, and to give them special privileges. This was done 
with the main purpose of building up commerce. One can find many other 
letters which illustrate his solicitude for the state of commerce. 2 

That it was highly desirable for a nation, he had no doubt. The 
fact that Holland despite her unfavorable geographical position had built up 
a great commerce and a 3trong national power as a result, justified all hi3 
efforts along this line. 3 He felt that lack of commerce had held France 
back; that with her great natural resources, she could take her place at the 
head of commercial nations, if trade was only properly encouraged and protect- 
ed. It was this idea as the basis of his philosophy, dominated by the ulti- 
mate conception of the great state, that influenced him to build up commerce 
and a great marine, and obtain colonies. 

Dominated by this view, one finds that Richelieu had a more or less 
definite foreign policy which affected all the important nations of the 
world. The establishment of commerce was undertaken primarily with the hope 
of placing France at the head of all commercial nations- This was especially 
true with respect to Spain. Richelieu hoped that he might be able to reverse 
the conditions, and make France strong upon the sea and thus able to domi- 
nate Spain in commercial relations. During the first part of Richelieu's 

Letters, II, 380. 
2 Ibid., Ill, 171-173. 
3 Ibid., Ill, 178-179. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 261-262. 


administration, one finds that Spain imposed various restrictions upon 
French commerce, but would not permit France to act similarly towards Spanish 
commerce. It is significant to notice that Spain not only dominated commer- 
cial relations between the two countries, but also between her colonies, and 
Portugal and France. 1 Richelieu then decided in retaliation, to prevent all 
trade with Spain, and in 1625 issued a declaration to that effect. However, 
the fact that Holland and England were competing for French trade in Spain 
accounts for the Cardinal's never absolutely cutting off trade between the 
two nations. He knew that if Spain could be defeated in the Thirty Years' 
War, commercial relations with her could be easily settled to the advantage 
of France. So that rather than lose out during the period of war, he per- 
mitted trade between the nations, which of course was of mutual benefit. How- 
ever, he was sure that Spain, "whose sole wealth depended on the gold from 
her colonies," was on the decline, and that time would make Francs her sup- 
erior and dictator in commercial relations. 3 

Turning to England, one finds that Richelieu appreciated the impor- 
tance of that country as a commercial nation. 4 Her resources, manufactures, 
and trade were all elements contributing to her grandeur and madLe her a direct 
competitor of France. Just like Spain, England restricted French commerce 
in her direction and opposed similar treatment in France. As will be shown 
later, Richelieu's diplomacy, to a large extent, was centered around his at- 
tempt to obtain a just recognition of the commercial rights of France by 

Levasseur, I, 265. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 148. 
Memoirs, XXII, 39. 
4 Testamen t Politique , II, 49-52. 



England, and also a claim for equality on the seas. 1 Of course he had to 
temper these demands, because of his desire to retain England as an ally against 
the Hapsburgs. Nevertheless, he recognized the fact that French commerce need- 
ed protection on the seas and should have it. 

During the Huguenot affair, commerce with England was prohibited. 2 
Richelieu at that time was really afraid of an alliance of England, Spain, 
Holland, and Savoy against France. 3 It was not long, however, before efforts 
were made to bring about friendly relations between the two countries which 
resulted in the treaties of 1629 and 1632, whereby friendly commercial relations 
with England were restored, much to the credit of Richelieu, who even wanted 
to establish certain rules of the seas which would govern commercial relations 
in the future. 4 

After 1632 Richelieu relaxed his efforts to settle critical commer- 
cial questions, as he knew that the Thirty Years' War prevented any action like 
that on his part. So that as a whole, commerce between both nations went on 
a3 usual. Each sold products to the other. Most of the trade was in English 
boats, and the English continued to annoy the French merchant who came to 
trade at London, by taxes, formalities, etc.^ France had to become stronger 
on the seas before she could settle commercial relations with England to her 

Richelieu was well aware of the power of Holland, and was a strong 
admirer of her success in this line of endeavor.^ It was between the years 

i See Chapter XIII, Cahiers de Normandie , II, 84-85, 166-167 jLetters 

^Letters, II, 774^Corps Universel Diplomatique, etc . ,V,pt .2,506-507?' 
Memoirs, XXIII, 335. 

4 See Chapter XIII, Letters, VII, 676. Corps Universel Diplomatique, 

SLevasseur, I, 264. etc '. V > P*- § , 581. 
6 See Chapters X and XI. 


1610 and 1625, that Holland assumed a strong position on the seas, in the 
colonies, etc. She became at that time the great economic rival of England. 
In a commercial way, trade with Holland was kept -up and fostered during the 
administration of Richelieu. That country was the diplomatic ally of France 
against the Hapsburgs, so that he was unable to undertake any economic ac- 
tion against her except to injure her trade with Spain through France, by 
means of ordinances. In other words, political and economic necessity else- 
where prevented a direct economic connection between these two lands, although 


two treaties in 1624 and 1627, arranged a more or less clear basis of econ- 
omic relationship with regard to the seas, and colonies. 1 

However, it is in a study of French commerce in the Levant that 
one can obtain the best illustration of the economic rivalries of Holland, 
England, and Spain with France. Since the death of Henry IV, the former 
important commercial relations between France and Turkey had diminished, 
while the influence of Holland and England in Turkey had increased. Centrali- 
zation of the government of France took away the extensive commercial powers 
of individual cities. But even this, up to Richelieti's time, had not aided 
commerce with the Levant. When he came into office he encountered a chaotic 
condition in this trade. The conflicting efforts of the central government 
and the cities seemad to be making matters worse. "It needed a man," says 
one writer, "with a definite policy, as Richelieu had to make an effort to 
create a positive reform." 2 In other words, trade with the East had been 
neglected, and it was his task to restore it. 

See Chapter XIII, Levasseur, I, 266, Corps Unive^sel g^gJSIgJ 1 ^ 

S&flasson, Histoire du Commerce de France dans le Levant , l85-l09. ' 


In the first place, he had to overcome the influence of the English, 
Dutch, and others in Turkey. They were paying 3$ Import duty while France 
paid 5$. The Porte favored the former powers. Inferior business methods and 
goods had lost for France the cloth trade with the East in return for spices, 
and was ruining the general commercial chances of the French in that quarter 
of the globe. * However, in spite of this competition, France until 1635 had 
an important trade with the East. Active entrance into the Thirty Years' War 
at that time injured this commerce in that the Spanish ships and the pirates 
hindered navigation, while cessation of trade with Spain cut off the supply 
of gold, which France had been accustomed to send into the East. This in 
turn accounts for the resiamption of commercial relations with Spain in 1639. 
In other words, it was the strength of Spain on the sea, and the commercial 
rivalry of England, Holland, and Spain, which Richelieu had to encounter 
in the East. Of course his action with regard to them was tempered by the 
needs of the Thirty Tears' War. However, one step towards a revival of eas- 
tern commerce would be attained if Spain could be defeated in the war, and 
Richelieu realized that fact. 3 It would have removed the greatest naval 
and colonial rival of France in the Mediterranean. 

"Richelieu has been accused of neglecting the Levant in the interest 
of more distant colonies," says one writer. "This is not true. The Cardinal 
understood better than his councillors the value of commerce in the East, and 
was not the man to let himself be carried away with the dreams of another 
crusade there, which seduced the imagination of Father Joseph." 4 He goes 

l-Masson, 118-119. 
flMd., 11S-135. 

Testament Politique . 11,55-56; 71. 
^igeonneau, II, 443-444. 


on to indicate that the elements which caused the deplorable weakness of 
France in the East, were the presence of pirates, poor conduct of diplomatic 
relations, inferior quality of merchandise, and bad organization of the 
consulates and their unfortunate conduct. All of these defects Richelieu 
tried to remedy. 

He furthermore encountered the war between Persia and Turkey which 
made matters even more difficult. He tried to trade with the former country 
by arranging a treaty with the northern countries whereby goods could be sent 

through Russia and the Baltic. 1 However this plan did not succeed because 


Russia would not permit French caravans to go through her lands. 


Father Joseph at last got rid of his crusading dream, and A sent to 
the East. He founded religious establishments in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Bag- 
dad, etc. As a result, commerce was permitted to grow up under the wing of 
the church. Richelieu had other men study the routes and condition of com- 
merce in central Asia and the Orient, and they succeeded in writing and 
bringing back vivid accounts of the East. 3 Richelieu feared the commercial 
influence of Spain, and other countries in Persia and the Mediterranean as 
a whole, and was from the start very anxious to establish the supremacy of 
France there. 4 The Cardinal knew that the influence of France depended on the 
capitulations made with the Sultan. In 1631 he sent an ambassador to 

See 196. 
^igeonneau, 445-446. 

3 Ibid., 448-449. The best known of these men sent by Richelieu was jean 
Baptiste Tavernier, who was not only a traveller but a merchant as well, who 
founded French commerce in Persia, in India, etc Besides visiting Turkey 
in Asia, Persia, and India, he also went as far as Sumatra and Java. 

betters, II, 23-24. 


Constantinople to renew the capitulations, "with the very high, very excellent, 
very powerful, very invincible Prince, the grand Emperor of the Musselmans, 
in order to conserve and extend the friendship and union of the crown of 
France and the Ottoman Empire for trade, traffic, and commerce with our sub- 
jects. m1 

In 1633 a committee of dignitaries, nominated by the council of 
Marseilles (a city very much interested in eastern commerce), on the basis of 
their commercial knowledge, reported and complained concerning the decay of 
eastern trade, which they said was due to many causes. They cited the long 
and important European wars, piracy, the oppression of ministers of the "Grand 
Seigneur", corruption of officials in the Levant, and of traders, etc In 
other words, they complained that the entire commercial system of France 
in the East was debased. 2 Indeed, it was a difficult task which Richelieu 
had to undertake, but he did the best he could under the circumstances. 

In 1639 he sent a new ambassador to Constantinople with instructions 
not only to protect Christians there, but to aid the French in developing 
commerce by seeing that the capitulations were obeyed. He was to see that 
all nations which had no ambassadors in the East, shotild sail under the French 
flag and recognize the French consuls. He was also to investigate the heavy 
impositions levied on the French merchants at Aleppo and Alexandria by the 
natives. If there was no remedy the trade would be ruined or henceforth 
be carried by the Venetians and English.*' The Cardinal thus made direct 
efforts to strengthen and rectify matters in the East. He even went so far 

"■"Letters, IV, 106; Mercure Francois . XVII, 896-817. 
2 Deschamps, 135-136. 
betters, VI, 320-322. 


as to give advice with regard to the injury caused "by debts contracted by 

past ambassadors. They should be settled at once in the interest of French 

trade as a whole. 

It is interesting to notice that Richelieu advised his ambassador 

at this time to keep Turkey from forming an alliance with Austria against 

France. He was to do this by telling the Sultan about the victories won by 

the French over the Austrians. 1 In other words, the Thirty Years' War had 

its effects even in the East. Bichelieu feared the loss of the Turkish 

Alliance, not only through a victory by Spain but also by an alliance with 

the Hapsburgs. This goes to prove that the war had its far reaching commercial 

aspects. A victory over the central powers meant the dominance of France in 

the East over Spain and Austria. But he realized that he still had England 

and Holland to encounter. As a result, Richelieu was not able to strengthen 

to a remarkable extent the commercial influence of France in the East. He 

did put down piracy to a certain extent and reform corruption among French 

officials in the Levant. But weak ambassadors at Constantinople, mediocre 

missionaries, and the unfortunate rivalry of Persia and Turkey, caused the 


gradual decay of French commerce there. Also, the Thirty Years' War so 
occupied the attention of the Cardinal that Holland was able gradually to 
take the place of France in the East, by way of the maritime route around the 
Cape. 3 

Richelieu, in his efforts to develop commerce, accepted the advice 
and ideas of several of his officials, who were connected with the external 

-■■Letters, VI, 323. 
2 Pigeonneau, II, 448-449. 
^Levasseur, I, 270. 



affairs of the nation. "Like all men of genius, he knew how to listen, but 
the direction and execution devolved upon him."* Indeed one finds by con- 
sulting his Testament Politique , that he has left rather definite economic 
views as to the future status of the external trade of France. 

The Cardinal up to the very last recognized the value of eastern 
commerce. "I will not enter," he says, "into detail at all as to the commerce 
which can be carried on with the East and Persia, because the humor or caprice 
of the Frenchman is so quick, that he wishes the end of his desires almost 
as soon as he has conceived of them, and the voyages that are distant are 
not agreeable to their natures." 2 It is interesting to notice that Richelieu 
was keen enough to see and admit the colonial weakness of the French. His- 
tory was to bear out the truth of his remarks. "However, as there comes," 
he says, "a great quantity of silk and tapestry from Persia, many curiosities 
from China, as well as spices from there and other parts of that section 
of the world, which are all useful to us, therefore this trade must not be 
neglected. In order to make a good establishment there, it is necessary to 
send two or three vessels commanded by some persons of quality, prudence, 
and wisdom, with patents and necessary powers, to treat with the Princes 
and make alliances with the people on all the coasts, just as the Portuguese, 
English, and Flemish have done." This policy works better than forcing one's 
way into a country, and holding it down by force, and thus stirring up hate 
by deceiving them, as others have done." It is quite evident that Richelieu 
desired close commercial relations with the East, and the fact that he did 

^Pigeonneau, II, 383. 
^ Testament Politique . II, 70-71. 


not aim to accomplish that "by military force seems to place him ahead of many 
of our more recent statesmen. But it really indicates his keen power of 
observation. He knew that he could attain the best results by peaceful trea- 
ties in the East and acted on the basis of that knowledge. 

He even went so far as to list the merchandise involved in trade 
with Naples, Rome, Smyrna, Constantinople , etc. Money and merchandise export- 
ed from France in return for the silks, wax, leather, spices, drugs, etc., 
of the East. "Before the English and Dutch settled in the Indies," he said, 
"all silks, drugs, and other merchandises of Persia came to Aleppo, from 
whence they were sent throughout France, Holland, England, and Germany." 1 
It is the loss of the monopoly of eastern trade which Richelieu bemoaned 
and desired to get back again. "Now the very same English and Dutch," he 
said, "have deprived us of comrterce, and deprived France not only of the 
merchandise of Persia, but also are encroaching on the land of the 'Great 
Seigneur' , which they have to go through. The merchandise is then sold in 
Sicily, Naples, Genoa, Spain, Germany, etc." 2 Furthermore , he points out 
the fact, that the English and Dutch were getting spices and drugs directly 
from the Indies, and thus were gradually obtaining control of the sale of 
these goods. 

Richelieu regretted this state of affairs. He feared that foreign- 
ers would even control the trade of the East with France, and thus his nation 
would lose the profit to be obtained thereby. He pointed out in his Testa- 
ment, that the French took more hemp, cloth, wood, etc., to the East than 
they did money. Furthermore, what money they did send was obtained from 

■'• Testament Politique . II, 72-73. 
2 Ibid., II, 73-74. 


Spain in exchange for merchandise sold to them. That France would profit 
by a renewed trade he had no doubt, arid pointed out Marseilles as a city 
which had made much money in the past by means of the eastern commerce." 

One would think the attention Bichelieu paid towards the ad- 
visability of the retention of money in France, would classify him as an 
extreme mercantilist. Such was not the case. "I admit," he said, "that I 
have for a long time been deceived as to the commerce which the people of 
Provence founded in the East. I believed with many others that it was pre- 
judicial to the state, founded upon the common opinion that it exhausted 
the money of the Kingdom, in order to bring back merchandise, not necessary 
at all, but only useful for the ease of our nation. But after having taken 
an exact view of this trade, condemned by the public voice, I have changed 
my mind, and if any one will examine the question, he will see certainly, 
that I have done so with thought and reasoning. It is certain that we could 


not do without most of the merchandise which is obtained from the East, 

as silks, cottons, wax, rhubarb, and many other drugs which are necessary to 

us." 1 

This is one of the wiaast economic utterances of the Cardinal. It 
marks a gradual change from the strict mercantilistic view, to a very liberal, 
if not modern one. Believing in the great value of a retention of money 
in France, he changed about, and toward the last recognized the fact that 
after all it was the export of goods which other countries needed and the 
import of goods needed by France, which counted. He could see that by this 
means France could develop better than under the narrow policy of the past. 
It is unfortunate that he did not live long enough to carry into execution 
these new economic ideas which he had towards the end of his administration. 

^• Testament Politique , II, 75. 


However, he was not concerned with the commerce between France and 
the East alone. He desired France to be a distributing point and a manu- 
facturing center for the products of the East, by which it could make 100$ 
profit. By this means, France could be assured of a great number of artisans 
and sailors, both useful in peace and war, and of revenues from export and 
import duties. In order that the French merchant could appreciate and be 
stimulated to develop their commerce in the East, the Cardinal even advocated 
the sale of governmental vessels to be used by the Franch in commerce.* 
in other words, Richelieu wanted above everything else, to develop and build 
up commerce with the East; for by so doing he would strengthen and solidify 
France. One sees in his enlightened economic ideas and policies, the efforts 
of the French statesmen to control that which the discoveries were taking 
away from the Mediterranean powers as a whole. Also, the commercial rival- 
ries which sprang up in the East are early hints of what was to follow as 
regards the trade relations of the various great powers of Europe. For that 
reason, it is of especial interest to all. 

However, Richelieu had not only the competition of European powers 
as a hindrance, for he also had to solve the question of the pirates, and 
especially of the bad relations with North Africa which was their home. The 
Cardinal built a stronger fleet to meet this difficulty and decided that the 
taxes on commerce should pay for the navy. As the important treaties with 
the Barbary States were completed in 1630 or a little after, the taxes dis- 
appeared, but this was unfortunate, as a larger navy was needed against 
Spain. 2 

Testament Politique , II, 76-7?. 

^Iasson, Histoire du Commerce Francaise dans le Levant , 48. 


However, the Cardinal did try to settle affairs with Algiers, 
Tunis, Morocco, etc., in North Africa. A representative named Sansom Napol- 
lon was sent to Algiers and obtained in 1628 a treaty which stipulated 
observation of all the articles of the capitulation between them. Trade and 
fishing rights between them were adjusted and things looked bright again in 
that part of the wo rid. * 

In 1630, Isaac de Razilly was sent to settle the difficulties, and 
he succeeded in obtaining the right of the French to trade freely, and have 
consuls in that country. 2 Furthermore, the English were forbidden to send 
arms to Morocco by this treaty. 3 in other words, by these agreements the 
rights of the French in North Africa and on the sea, and the rights of the 
natives of these countries to trade with France were confirmed. On the 
whole the relations with the Barbary States were improved. There was, how- 
ever, a little trouble in 1633, and another treaty was necessary in 1639. 
In fact one might say, that in Africa as well as in France and America, Rich- 
elieu's work was incomplete. He had ambitious plans for the development 
of the entire Mediterranean, but did not live long enough for anything to 
materialize . 4 

However, Richelieu was interested not only in the East with regard 
to foreign commerce. One finds for instance, that he desired to sell to 
the Swiss, French salt, which was better than German salt, and at a more 

^Levasseur, I, 266-267; Corps Universel Diplomatique, V,pt .2, 559-560. 
2 Isambert, XVI, 357-359. 

3 Mercure, XVII, 131; Corps Universel Diplomatique ,V,pt .2, 613-614. 
4 Pigeonneau, II, 453-455;Corps Universel Diplomatique, VI ,pt . 1, 18. 


reasonable price. He hoped by this means to pay the pensions due the Swiss 
soldiers.* Indeed it would seem as if the Cardinal wa3 planning on using 
the salt resources of France as one of its financial foundations. No wonder 
he did not want to lose La Rochelle. 

With regard to Poland, Richelieu had an interesting remark to 
make. He said in 1629, that France had little trade with Poland because the 
former had no need of wheat or wood, which could be obtained in nearer markets, 
in Norway and Denmark. Furthermore, she could get tar from Norway and leather 
from Sweden, so that trade with that country was not really important. 2 How- 
ever, Richelieu admitted that the Austrians dominated Poland at that time, 
which may account to a certain degree for his attitude toward Poland. He de- 
clared that France furnished Poland some salt and wine, which the Dutch really 
controlled. "Our more important trade is in Spain, Italy, and the Levant. 
England might better desire peace in Poland because of her great trade with 
that nation. 3 Here one sees a clever effort on Richelieu's part to push 
England into the conflict in 1630 because of commercial interests in Poland. 
Richelieu evidently recognized the powerful influence of commerce in diplo- 
matic relations. 

He also constantly considered commerce from its purely economic 
standpoint. "While the King was in Italy," he said in 1629 in hi3 Memoirs, 
"the Cardinal was not troubled by so many of the affairs of his Majesty within 
and without the Kingdom, that he did not think of the enrichment of that nation 
by means of the increase of commerce. He proposed to his Majesty that some 

A Memoirs, XXIII, 289-290. 
2 Ibid., XXV, 129. 
Memoirs, XXV, 129. 


one be sent to represent France in Moscow, to treat with the ruler of Russia, 
and obtain freedom and permission for the French to trade there under 
reasonable conditions. As regards Denmark, French merchandise had suffered 
because of the duty imposed by the King of that country when it passed 
through the straits (the Sund) . Efforts were to be made and were made to 
reestablish a treaty which gave France a tax of 1$ instead of b$ on mer- 
chandise. "This was a great advantage," said Richelieu, "to the commerce 
and navigation of France. However, it was limited to 8 years so that Eng- 
land and Holland would not complain. Promises were made to continue the 
treaty when it expired. 

Turning to Russia, one finds that full commercial rights were ob- 
tained there. However, the French were not to be allowed to go through 
Russia on their way to Persia. Russia was to furnish such a good market for 
France that they could get the goods from the East as cheap as if they went 
after the merchandise themselves. It certainly is interesting to notice that 
the original plan of founding a commercial company in France, which was to 

trade with Russia, and which included a plan to bring Persian goods by means 


of the Caspian Sea, A Volga river, and the Baltic Sea to France, culminated 
in the first real commercial treaty made by the French nation with Russia. 2 
Richelieu was looking out for French commerce and in 1630 he believed that 
the Baltic Sea was to be the way by which he not only could trade with the 
north but with the East. One can readily see why he was so anxious to 
arrange treaties with the Scandinavian countries. Also, the effect upon 

Memoirs, XXV, 342-343. 

Memoirs, XXV, 131 \ Corps Universel Diplomatique, V, pt.2, 594-598. 


France if Austria had controlled the Baltic must have been obvious to Hiche- 
lieu. It is no wonder that he founded the alliance against the Hapsburgs and 
fought his fellow Catholics at a time when the religious controversy still had 
its place in affaire of the world. 

However, Bichelieu desired not only to open up trade with the East 
through the Baltic, but he also wished to increase the commerce of France with 
such countries as Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In the treaty of 1629 arranged 
with Denmark, the latter was promised pure salt from France instead of the 
impure product which the Dutch sold to them. France would have also a better 
market for the purchase of such things as hemp, masts for boats, etc., which 
she needed. 1 In other words, Richelieu desired the creation of an increased 
commerce between those two countries. 

A commercial treaty was also arranged with Sweden. In it an alli- 
ance was agreed upon which was to last six years, and in compliance with 
it they agreed to defend oppressed friends, to assure freedom of commerce from 
the north to the Baltic, etc.^ 

Thus one sees that France during this period was interested in the 
Baltic not only for diplomatic reasons or on account of the fear of the 
growing Hapsburg dynasty, but she also desired to assume more friendly and 
important commercial relations with the northern countries. It is possible 
that this was done partly to bind the nations more closely together against a 
common foe. It was likewise brought about in order to obtain an advantage 
over the competition of at least Holland in this particular part of the world. 

^Caillet, 328-332. (Les Voyages de Monsieur des Hayes, baron de Courmes- 
min en Denmark 1669, p. 99 et seq.) 

2 Martin, II, 316. 


Whatever were the motives, Richelieu was the instigator of this policy and 
thus deserves the credit for what he accomplished along these lines. It will 
he shown later that his accomplishments here had important consequences in 
the progress and outcome of the Thirty Years' War.* 

But it is in Richelieu's Testament Politique , that one finds his 
final ideas with regard to commerce in general. He repeats (and seems fond 
of doing so) the story of the commercial rise of Holland. "It is proof," 
he says, "of the utility of Trade. Though that nation produces nothing but 
butter and cheese, yet they furnish all the nations of Europe with the great- 
est part of what is necessary to them." 2 He then proceeded to tell how they 
had ousted the Portuguese from the East Indies and were preparing to do the 
same in the West Indies. One can not fail to see the yearning in the heart 
of the great statesman for a similar growth on the part of France. He real- 
ized that if this could only take place, France with its geographical and 
economic advantages could become the leader of Europe. After all it was the 
economic side of a nation which was the foundation of its strength and all 
his attempts at political centralization were for the purpose of bringing 
about a successful culmination of his "ideal state". France is so fertile in 
corn, so abounding in wine, flax, hemp to make cloth, and riggings, so neces- 
sary for navigation, that Spain, England, and all the neighboring states must 
have recourse thither, " he said, "and provided we know how to improve the 
advantages which nature has given us we will get the money of those who have 
occasions for our goods, without troubling ourselves much with their commodi- 

See Chapter XIII. 

' Testament Politique , II, 65. 


ties which are of little use to us." 1 One can readily see by these remarks 
that the Cardinal wanted only the chance to carry out these plans, but it 
was denied him. He knew that his country was being exploited by the commer- 
cial progress of other nations, and that if she found herself, she could not 
only develop her commerce and fisheries, necessary at that time, but she 
also would be able to keep her sailors at home, who up until then had sought 
employment in Spain. 

The development of French industries, French commerce, and French 
wealth were the underlying foundations of his philosophy. "Instead of 
importing cloth from Spain, England, and Holland, let us make it ourselves," 
was his earnest demand. 2 "France is industrious enough, if she desires, to 
dispense with some of the best manufactures of her neighbors." 3 He then goes 
on to praise the plush made at Tours, as ahead of that made in Italy and 
Spain. France could make as good silk as any nation,was his boast. It would 
seem as if he indulged a typical "made in France" argument, such as is not 
out of fashion at the present time. Efficiency was his motto. He could see 
in the revival of commerce and industry, a chance whereby everybody could 
have an opportunity to work. So that sloth, laziness, and a desire for lux- 
uries would be overcome. A man who advocated the use of the entire material 
and human resources of the country in order to create a wealthy and strong 
state is certainly not to be classed as mediocre either in the political or 

the economic sense of the term. 

he possessed 

No one can doubt that keen business ability. "There are many ad- 


vantages in navigation," he says; "The fur trade of Canada is very useful, 

■'•Testame nt Politique , II, 66-67. 

2 Ibid., II, 67. 
3 Ibid., II, 68-69. 


as you can carry on an exchange of goods for goods." 1 He then goes on to 
point out the advantages of trade in the East Indies and in North Africa. 
"The merchants of Rouen, " he says, "have at one time established a silk 
and cloth trade in Morocco by means of which they obtain a great quantity 
of gold." He then goes on to bemoan the lack of a great merchant marine, 
which could carry all the traffic of the north which the Flemish and the 
Dutch had taken over. Because the north had an absolute need of wine, vine- 
gar, spirits, etc., all commodities in which France abounds, and which she 
can not consume herself. (The idea of a surplus of products is clearly 
brought out here.) "It is easy," he says, "to carry on a commerce with them, 
and better in that the French vessels can bring back wood, copper, etc., 
things not only useful to us but necessary for our neighbors, who must get 
it direct from us, if they do not wish to lose the freight of their vessels 
going for it." 2 It would seem as if Richelieu intended not only to carry 
on French trade with the north in French vessels, but desired to have the 
French merchant marine have a monopoly of the trade of all nations with the 
north. It was a large scheme, but it fits in exactly with his general econ- 
omic and political idea of a great state, and the destruction of all forces 
which would hinder that conception. A great state would certainly mean a 
nation which was the predominant commercial center of the world. The first 
step in order to bring this about and assume control of commerce in the West 
Indies, etc., was to overpower Spain by means of a great war. This was the 
underlying economic element in their relations in the Thirty Years' War, 

•'• Testament Politique , II, 66-69. 

2 Ibid., II, 69-70. 
3 Ibid., II, 71. 


as will be shown. 

Thus, commerce and the methods to attain a development of it in 
France, dominated his thoughts towards the end of his administration, and no 
better indication of its importance, and of the keen intellect which solved 
its difficulties is found than in his change from a supporter of a high export 
and internal tax on goods to a lower one, in order to increase trade thereby. 
Richelieu was willing to change any of his theories to bring about the long 
sought for ends. This fact alone illustrates and justifies the statement 
that he was an economic statesman. He seems to have followed not only his own 
ideas, but also the contribution of other men of his time, like Montchretien. 
The only test that he required was whether they would bring about the growth 
and grandeur of his beloved nation. If so, he adopted them. 

Testament Politique , II, 88, etc. 


Chapter XIII 


Richelieu' s entire administration was taken up with the fulfilment 
of two objects: in the first place, to develop the external commerce, marine, 
and colonization of France, and make her one of the strongest nations from 
an economic point of view, in the second place, to make France one of the 
strongest political powers in Europe, and, as a consequence, place her in the 
center of the nations united or opposed to each other, in order to preserve 
the balance of power. In other words, he wanted to create, as one writer 
say3, a combined continental and colonial power. * 

Richelieu, in his capacity of "grand master and superintendent of 
commerce, etc." gave the external economic development of France a good start. 
He intended to complete this phase of his administration together with the 
reorganization of internal economic affairs in France, after peace should be 
declared. But before he could do all this he had to establish the security 
of the frontiers of France and prepare that nation to assume a leading place 
in coming national struggles. This purpose served to bring out his great 
power of diplomacy. How he used it in the critical phases of the Thirty 
Years' War is known to students of history. 

However, it must be remembered that back of all this lay the su- 
preme purpose of Richelieu's, to make France a strong, powerful, and thus a 
valuable economical political possession of the King. This as has been shown, 
accorded with the general mercantilists doctrine, and all phases of his 

1 Vignon, L . L' ex pansion de la France . Paris, 1891, 28-34. 


administration were -unconsciously controlled and guided by this central 
policy. Few people at that time comprehended this ultimate purpose, as is 
shown by the fact, which Richelieu admitted, that few people could see the 
necessity of war, which he believed was really needed in order to preserve 
the dignity and credit of the King and state, over against other European 
powers. "Merchants and people in general, do not see this point," he says, 
"they complain about the burdens of war but do not see the value of it for the 
state as a whole. "1 In other words, the Cardinal had the security of the 
nation in view, as a prerequisite for future prosperity. But the people 
could not look so far ahead. They could see the benefits of the suppression 
of the nobles, but the Thirty Years' War was above their political or econ- 
omic comprehension. The need of a strong frontier, the maintenance of the 
balance of power, and the question of the control of the sea as a part of a 
strong economic and political state were above them. Richelieu realized 
this and it is a question whether this did not cause him to hold back many 
of his advanced policies until the coming peace would enable him to undertake 
them with a better chance of success. 

However, he followed in his diplomatic accomplishments one general 
policy without any exceptions. This was the intention to bring about the 


pacification of western Europe as the essential basis of all future progress. 
He saw that other nations were and would be economic and political rivals of 
France, and it was his duty to bring the situation to a general peace of a 
character favorable to the continued existence of France. To do this he had 

Memoirs, XXVI, 87-91. 

2 Testament Politique , I, 285-286. 


' 3 


to pay a heavy price in money and lives, which was perhaps worth while in the 

The theoretical rule guiding his relations was of course to assure 
the welfare of France by means of favorable negotiations with other countries. 
For example, this policy meant that the spirit of political and economic 
reciprocity should govern his relations with other lands. 1 In other words, 
give back what you receive; do not bow down before any nation, for it weakens 
your own position. The diplomatic relations between France and Spain during 
the period serve as a good illustration of this policy. 

Spain, when Richelieu came into powe^was beginning to decline, but 
nevertheless was able to be a very powerful and active foe. The Cardinal 
feared her and sincerely believed from the first, that the welfare of the 
world would be aided by the destruction of her power as well as that of the 
Empire. 2 

This nation was not only a danger to the existence of France on the 
seas and along her boundaries, but also threatened her internal status. The 
French Court, which was led by Anne of Austria, and others suspected of treason, 
was half Spanish; 3 and furthermore, the Spaniards were more or less interested 
in the attempts of the Huguenots to obtain independence. 4 Why? Of course, 
in part for political reasons. Spain desired to weaken France, in order to 
be permitted to unite with Austria across Italy, etc. But it should not be 
forgotten that La Eochelle was important as a center for the distribution of 
salt. England realized this and Spain no doubt did so, for she herself car- 
ols t o ire Gene rale , Paris, 1896,12 vols., V, 368. 
2 Letters, II, 150. 
bridges, 113. 

4 Testament Politique , I, 1S-22. 



commodity . 

ried on a trade in that A In fact, Richelieu complained in 1627, (the time 
of the Huguenot affair) of the attempts of the Spanish to hinder French 
commerce in salt with the Flemish people. So that there was evidently a 
commercial rivalry existing between France and Spain with regard to the salt 
traded When the most important salt producing center of France revolted, 
it was naturally aided by Spain. The latter country would clearly have 
welcomed an independent La Rochelle from the economic as well as the political 
point of view. Gaston at that time did not approve of the connection "between 
the attempts of Richelieu to establish the commerce and marine and overcome 
Spain, and the attempt to take La Rochelle. In fact he criticised the econ- 
omic value of the latter part of Richelieu's program. 2 Richelieu according to 
his policy of secrecy, which was condemned by Gaston, did not offer to reveal 
to the latter the underlying motives behind it all. 

The Cardinal was well aware of the commercial plans of Spain. He 
knew that she wanted to monopolize commerce in Flanders and indeed in all 
of her possessions. Furthermore, he was aware of her attempt to deprive 
the Dutch of their trade in the Mediterranean and the Indies. Spain desired 
even at that time to become dominant in commerce in the Levant and in Russia, 
and to prevent the trade of Holland with France and England. 4 The good 
relationship with Holland on the part of France is partly accounted for by 
this statement. Richelieu believed from the beginning of his administration 
that the Spanish nation was the one power which intended to spread its 

A Ba8 80Bipierre, III, 432. 
2 Memoirs, XXIII, 261-262. 
^Mercure Francois , XXIII, 334-335. 
4 Ibid., XII, 4-8; 30-35. 




commercial monopoly over all the world, and that therefore its plans should 
be blocked. Holland was the natural ally in such a program. 

Immediate efforts were made to oppose the ambitions of Spain. Com- 
mercial relations were broken off for the time being and at the same time, 
about 1626, the French began to form large companies to reestablish commerce, 
colonies, etc.* Steps were also taken to build canals through France, and 
thus cause all goods from the Mediterranean and the Levant to be sent north 
through France, instead of going by way of Spain, in other words, as was 

said, "to make France the common deposit of all the commerce of the earth. 1,2 

location which 

Even the superiority of geographical A France possessed over Spain was considered 
from an economic point of view at this time. The Mercure Francois quotes the 
statement made by the King's "Garde de Seeaux" , that Spain in order to trade 
with Italy or any part of the Mediterranean, had to pass by France at night 
or under the "culverins" of the islands of Provence. Furthermore, in order 
to trade with Flanders, Holland, England, Denmark, and other northern lands, 
it was necessary for Spanish vessels to pass "le Sos Sainct Mahe", at the 
mercy of the French cannon, which could control the English channel with 
little difficulty. In other words, France would find it easy, because of 
her fortunate geographical position, to defeat Spain in her commercial 
ambitions • 

The favorable position of France on the Mediterranean Sea was 
brought forth a little later in the same way. The good coast and harbors of 
Provence could easily hinder the commerce of Spain and communication by water 
with Italy, so necessary in peace and war. At this point appears the definite 

Mercure FrancPls , XII, 3. 
2 Ibid., XII, 359. 
3 Ibid.. XII. 359-60. 


object of keeping Italy independent of Spain, in order to separate not only 
their political but also their economic relations. 1 In other words, the 
attempt to form a political and economic aollverein between the Empire and 
Spain through Italy was to be broken, because it endangered the very existence 
of France, politically and economically. 2 

This brought up the question of the control of the sea which was 
as important then as it is now. The government realized that such control 
was necessary in order that France might employ its great wealth in comnerce. 
Spain was sterile and possessed no such possibilities. "The geographical 
position of France with her good harbors, etc., enables her to attack Spain, 
Holland, or England, inflict a loss and return promptly. Furthermore, the 
innate ability of Frenchmen, and the adequate supply of sailors, mariners, 
etc., insure a continuation of the past efforts of the French to gain control 
of the sea against the pirates of Spain and other lands. ^ Thus the develop- 
ment of the marine and the control of the sea was the important factor in 
the economic defeat of Spain, the great rival of France. "The first thing 
to do," says Richelieu in a letter, "in order to meet Spain, is to become 
powerful on the sea, which gives entrance to all the countries of the 
world." 4 The other step was of course to keep Spain out of Italy. These 
were to remain the two aims of France in spite of temporary efforts to avoid 
a struggle and settle them by peace terms. ^ Insults and invasion of the 
rights of the French on land and sea were to be prevented only by the posses- 

1 Mercure Francois , XIII, 248-253. 
2 Letters, II, 81; Memoirs, XXVII, 222-223. 
^ercure Francois . XXVII, 239-248. 
betters, III, 181. 
^ Mercure Franc Sis , XVI, 202-203. 



sion of a strong military and naval force. 

However, Richelieu in his rivalry with Spain on the sea was willing 
to compromise. In spite of the desires of French merchants to retaliate 
against the Spanish and Portuguese, who committed depredations upon their 
vessels on their way to and from the Indies or America, Richelieu tried to 
preserve peace, and asked the merchants not to conanit hostile acts when they 
were in neutral waters. 1 In other words, Richelieu professed belief in the 
principles of what we now call international law. 

In 1634 Richelieu, in order to prevent trouble with the Spanish 
and Portuguese, agreed that they should have full rights within certain waters 
leading from the Indies and America. However, he asked that the French be 
permitted to sail into the ports and harbors of Spain and Portugal, as 
long as they did not impose on the limits of the ports of the ocean reserved 
for the Portuguese and Spanish. 2 Thus he was willing to concede certain 
rights to his colonial rivals in return for privileges for France. 

At the same time, when Richelieu was attempting to overthrow the 
power of Spain in Italy, and was advocating a large navy in order to sweep 
them off the sea, he left the situation north of France to be taken care of 
by the Dutch. The latter prevented any attempts on the part of the Spanish 
to strengthen their possessions in the Netherlands, by means of canals, etc., 
and thus build up their economic interests in those lands. 3 The Mercure 
Francois , in 1627, mentions the attempts of the Spanish to obtain a closer 
union with their colonies and other lands, for the purpose of defence against 

Memoirs, XXVIII, 204-205. 

2 Isambert, XVI, 409-411; Mercure Francois . XX, 711-712. 
^Mercure Franco is , XIII, 566-571. ^ 


enemies.* Of course this would be dangerous economically and politically 
for France and should be prevented. The people of Flanders were consequently 
influenced to oppose these efforts of Spain. 2 Richelieu saw the economic 
struggle going on between Holland and Spain for control of the Indies and the j 
sea. "The rise of either, " he said, "would bring about the ruin of the 
other." As a consequence, he played one against the other in the interests 
of France . 

This was the general diplomatic position taken by France toward 
these two nations throughout Richelieu' s administration. In 1635 the Cardinal 
declared that war with Spain was the only solution for the peace of Europe 
and the safety, the repose, and the commercial rights of the French people. 4 
At this time, in spite of the economic rivalry existing between Holland and 
France, an offensive and defensive league was made between then; against the 
Empire and Spain. ^ 

In 1639, Richelieu was still pegging away at the Spanish in Italy 
besides trying to get the English into an alliance against Spain. The three 
of them were to drive Spain off the seas. Indeed, Richelieu gave orders at 
this time for the fleet to attack the Spanish towns, and (which is more 
important by far) her colonies. 7 Apparently the Cardinal had imperialistic 
ideas of the most advanced sort. Control of the seas meant colonies to him 
as it did to many other statesman after him. His Testament, shows that this 
was hi3 final intention and was his advice for those who were to follow him. 

• L Mercure Fra ncois, XIII, 590-595. 
2 Ibid., XIII, ^598. 
Memoirs, XXVII, 362-365. 

betters, V, 151-153; Mercure Francois , XX, 959. 
5 Ibid., V, 383. ~~ T ~ 
6 Ibid. , 550-555. 
7 Ibid.,658. 


He says that "there is little left for Franco in western commerce. The only 
chance is to obtain control of places occupied now by the King of Spain 
by means of a powerful war." 1 In another place he says that a navy will 
overcome Spain and protect France. It has been the only instrument which 
has enabled Spain to retain her colonies. 2 Furthermore, Richelieu advised 
a strong marine in order to keep Spain from Italy and make the Barbary states 
respect France. 3 In other words, Richelieu believed that the only solution 
for the economic and political development of France lay in the defeat of 
Spain on land and sea: 4 on land so that she would not threaten the boundaries 
of France; on the sea, so that she could not hinder French commerce, and so 
that France might obtain some of the rich colonial rewards which she so 
much desired. Richelieu's part in the Portuguese revolt was probably taken 
because of his desire to break up the colonial empire of Spain.^ 

In one respect Richelieu looked upon Spain from a more or less 
friendly point of view. The latter purchased wheat, silks, etc., from France 
in considerable quantities. The Cardinal permitted this trade to be carried 
on, because it added to the wealth of France. "Richelieu in 1639," says 
one writer, "handled this difficult proposition very well. He allowed the 
traders by an edict the right to export goods at their risk. It was a sort 
of authorized contraband by which both countries profited."** 

This illustrates the principle back of the Cardinal's administration. 
The political and external economic power of Spain wa3 a danger to the 
development of France; therefore, it should be destroyed. However, enmity 

^• Testament Politique , II, 71. 

2 Ibid., II, 52^53. 

3 Ibid., II, 54^64. 

%ercure Francois , XXIII, 125. 

^akeinan, 116 . 

^igeonneaul II ' t 423. 


to Spain should not prevent France from taking advantage of any opportunity 
to better herself, even though it should lead to trade with a nation with 
whom they were at war. French merchants actually became the overland carriers 
of goods between Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany. 

Richelieu was guided by the same nationalistic ideal in his diplo- I 
matic relations with England. The latter country had failed to observe the 
various clauses of the commercial treaty of 1623. In other words, the Eng- 
lish placed various restrictions upon the importation of French goods, such 
as cloth for example. Now the French desired their government to retaliate 
and consequently there arose in France the demand that the English should be 
treated in France as the French were treated in En^and. 2 Therefore when 
Richelieu came into office he had the problem confronting him of arranging 
commercial relations which would be satisfactory to both countries. 

One of the first steps in that direction wa3 the marriage of 
Henrietta of France to the English Prince of Wales. The Cardinal hoped 
that this alliance would result not only in the establishment of good rela- 
tions between the two countries, but that it would serve as a counterweight 
to the grandeur of Spain, 3 and also would prevent a powerful commercial and 
colonial alliance between England and Holland. 4 

The effect of this alliance was temporary, although both England 
and Holland lent boats to France in 1625, to be used against La Bochelle at 
a time when France was at war with Spain. Yet this "entente" did not 

■''Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 162. 
2Levasseur, I, 273. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 78. 
4 Ibid., XXII, 293. 

• t& ft n . "is? 


last, and before long the English were supporting the opposition to France. 

The explanation for that change is simple when one considers not 
only the religious side of the marriage alliance but the commercial diffi- 
culties in the way of a happy consummation of the aims of that alliance. 
Francs and England were beginning the intense commercial rivalry on the sea 
which was to be the keynote of their diplomatic relations for the next two 
hundred years. Indeed, Richslieu in a letter said that the three roots of 
trouble between France and England were f irat^the religious difficulties 
concerning the right of Henrietta in that respect ;^ secondly, the commercial 
side as seen not only in the retention of French vessels and their goods 
by the English, but in the retaliation in a similar manner by the French;2 
in the third place, the aid of La Eochelle by the English. 3 However, the 
first cause of trouble could have been settled easily if the latter points 
of dispute had not prevented any lasting solution during the entire period. 
In fact, one might say that the first four or five years of Richelieu's 
administration were taken up with a sharp commercial controversy with England, 
with the military base of operations at La Rochelle. After that, this rivalry 

Even the marriage of Henrietta had its economic: side because of the fact 
that the French in spite of the demands of the English had failed to pay the 
dowry which had been promised. In fact the Venetian ambassador summarized 
the causes of the trouble between the two countries as follows: (1) the La 
Eochelle affair, (2) navigation troubles, and (3) the question of the dowry. 
See Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 66. 

2 Calendars, (Venetian), XIX, 592. "Seizure of vessels on both sides 
makes both nervous. Starting as a friendly dispute between Denmark, England, 
and France in 1626 over the question of navigation, it now began to assume 
serious proportions." See Calendars, (Venetian), XIX, 482-483. 

betters, II, 243. 


was extended over the seas toward various colonies, where the actual rivalry 
of the two nations is seen at its best. The Thirty Years' War complicated to 
a certain extent their diplomatic relations so far as Europe was concerned, 
because England was a much sought for ally, so far as this war was concerned. 1 

In the first place, however, one can find traces of a sharp rivalry 
on the sea, which resulted in depredations on French commerce, which in turn 
led towards the preparation of a war marine to protect French merchants. 
Richelieu stated openly in 1627 that he was going to protect French trade on 
the sea. 3 Furthermore, in following out this policy of protection for French 
commerce, he used the same mercantilistic policy toward England as toward 
Spain. He would not permit the importation of English cloth, but desired 
England to send over her raw materials, such as iron, hides, etc 4 He desired 
to build up the manufactures of France, as being one of the requirements of a 
strong state. It is no wonder that England was afraid of the results that 
would follow if Richelieu carried out his policy. ^ 

Colonial interests began to occupy a place in the English-French 
relations as early as 1626. "For," says Richelieu, "the establishment of the 
company of Morbihan in 1627 alarmed the English and the Dutch who fear our 
control of the sea as an ultimate goal." 6 This fear on the part of the English 

^So far as affairs in Europe were concerned, the relation of France and 
England in the Thirty Years' War was influenced largely by territorial desires. 
The question of the Palatinate and Lorraine was at issue. England was in- 
terested in the former and France the latter. Neither country was enthusias- 
tic over the demands of the other. See Revue, des Questions Historlque , 1889, 
XLV, 489-501. 

2 Letters, II, 279-281; 305. 

3 Ibid., II, 389-390. 

4Pigeonneau, II, 423. 

5 In his report concerning the relations existing between France and Eng- 
land in 1626, the Venetian Ambassador to England says, "Richelieu's care for 
naval affairs, either by means of a company or otherwise; the passage of the 

Galleons from the Mediterranean to the ocean and other manoeuvres of France all 
furnish pretexts for comments, suspicions, etc" See Calendars, (Venetian) , XIX, 592 
Memoirs, XXIII, 127. 


is substantiated "by the reports of the Venetian ambassador to England in 1627. 
He says that the dispute over the Queen's household and the shipping are 

merely pretexts and not difficult to adjust 1 but that they would never 

permit the French to strengthen themselves at sea, because they are so close." 
More than one person told me franklji that not to oppose this would amount 
to giving the French the keys to his majesty's dominions. He goes on to 
point out the fact that the English look upon Richelieu's attempt to build 
up a marine as a means whereby he can make himself supreme, not only over 
England and her India trade, but in France itself. This and other quotations 
indicate that the English feared the colonial aspirations of the French and 
realized that the control of the sea was the means by which France might not 
only break up their beginnings of an empire, but even attack England itself. 3 
"The secretary Conway," writes the Venetian ambassador in 1626, "whom I visit- 
ed spoke to me and read a letter addressed to the King announcing the great 
attention paid by Richelieu to maritime affairs, the ships expected from 
Holland, and others off La Rochelle and in the ports of Brittany and Normandy, 
the arrangement made by the merchants for a company to trade off the East 

France had failed to pay the rent for the ships loaned by the English 
for use against the Huguenots in 1526, much to the disgust of the English. 
See Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 122-123. 
Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 98-99. 

3 Ibid., (Venetian), XX, 242. The Venetian ambassador in France writes 
in 1627, "They are making forty pieces of artillery in the foundries here 

for the fleet, according to the invention of Targoni I wrote of The 

terrible results they produce are shown by experiments. .... .before the 8ar- 

dinal, etc. He called upon me yesterday and said he was going in a fort- 
night to Brittany, not only to reduce La Rochelle but he boasts that he will 
enter the ports of England itself, etc" 


generally 1 
lnaies etc This is contrary to the comn.on weal and i«n>t .understood, etc ." 

Both England and France realized that they were to be mortal ene- 
mies for control of the sea and all that goes with it. As Gouraud says, 
"Richelieu constantly believed that Spain, England, and Holland derived their 
greatness and power from the marine. Like a genius, he plunged into the 
future. He knew that Spain would not control her colonies much longer, that j 
Holland, whether she maintained herself or not, would never be the great danger \ 
to France. But as for England, he feared her and the more she increased in 
power, the stronger he wished to make France." 2 

The capture of merchant ships by both sides served as the basis of 
their opposition to each other. "This has to be stopped," says Richelieu, 
"or war will result-"^ Consequently the great economic struggle between these 
two important nations found a first significant expression in 1626 over this 
question of navigation. 4 Richelieu even went so far as to call the English 
pirates, accusing them of committing all sorts of outrages against the French 
merchant ships. "No heed was taken of any agreement made with France. "5 
In fact, they even took advantage of the faith the French placed in peace 
agreements between the two nations.^ Of course he failed to consider the 
English side of the case- At any rate it is clear that at the start, the 

Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 31. 
2 G-ouraud, I, 191. 
SMemoirs, XXIII, 236-237. 

Calendars, (Venetian), XIX, 222-223, 286; XX, 267. 

Memoirs, XXIII, 271-272, 277. 
Henry IV, notwithstanding his dire need of the English Alliance; fre- 
quently protested against the violation of the freedom of French ships. See 
Cheyney, E.P. A History of_England. N.Y. 1914, I, 446. 

%emoirs, XXIII, 314. 


Cardinal decided that if France was to be powerful and wealthy, the English 
must be met and overcome. Both England and France knew that it was a struggle 
for control of the sea.* 

One of the first steps taken to settle the trouble between the two 
nations was the establishment of a marine, as has been discussed before. 2 
Efforts were made to arrange a satisfactory solution of the affair by means 
of negotiations. However, the piracies committed upon the merchant ships 
of both nations brought in another element which made a peaceful settlement 
difficult. In 1627 the King of England forbade all commerce with France, and 
confiscated French vessels and goods found in England. Louis XIII in re- 
taliation forbade his subjects to trade with England and accused the latter 
of breaking her agreement. ^ Evidently the La Rochelle affair and the marriage 
question were not the leading points at issue between these two powers. 

Richelieu believed that he had a good cause, and it is interesting 
to note how he tried to influence public opinion against England. For ex- 
ample, the Mercure Francois mentions the accusation of the English, that 
the French were laden with taxes, etc. "However," it says, "if the people 
of France suffer because of the war, the English endure just as much, and 
curse the Duke of Buckingham for having caused the rupture of commerce. The 
merchants have lost all their trade, and the people are overburdened with 
the military expenses. All for the imaginary purpose of obtaining power." 4 

Memoirs, XXIII, 270-271; Corresp. de Sourdis, Introduction, II-III. 
2 See Chapter X, 

^ Mercure Francois , XIII, 200-206. 

^Mercure Francois . XIII, 832-833. Richelieu had good reason to desire 
the support of his people, because of the fact, that the war with England 
ruined the business of French merchants along the coast, who constantly com- 
plained on this account. The English even expected the fall of the Cardinal 
because the merchants of Bordeaux, Rouen, G-ascony, Giuenne, etc., depended 
on English trade. See Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 122-123, 257, 134. 


One can find many traces of the birth of the intense rivalry of these nations 
at this time. Both suffered, hut were willing to endure, because of the 
bright rewards of the future and the thoughts of the weakness and suffering 
of the other side. Public opinion was influenced then as now in the direction 
of material gains. The resemblance of the past to the present appears when 
Richelieu in the Mercure Francois , accuses the English of double-dealing and 
lining up his allies against him.* In a certain sense it would seem that 
the edict prohibiting all commerce with England, except by the permission of 
Richelieu, was the first step in the economic struggle between the two na- 
tions, which was to come to a climax in the famous blockade phase of the 
Napoleonic War. 

But the match which really set off the struggle of 1627 was found 
in the aid given the Huguenots by the English. Not satisfied with undergoing 
the displeasure of the Cardinal with respect to the marriage alliance and the 
question of French and English commerce, the English had incurred his wrath 
by taking issue with him in regard to La Rochelle. They had captured the is- 
land of Re' and had, he believed, tried to draw other people to their side, 
using as a pretext the religious question.** 

•"• Mercure Francois . XIII, 833-835. 

^Trevelyan says that English interference in the Huguenot question stul- 
tified the European policy of both nations. "The Duke of Buckingham," he 3ays, 
"couldn't blind Parliament to the truth, even by undertaking, with huge Pro- 
testant bluster, the relief of those very Huguenots whom he had been helping 
Richelieu suppress." He then goes on to say that the English were sent to 
seize the island of Re' off La Rochelle which was to serve as a basis for Eng- 
lish commerce and privateering at the expense of France, secured by the neigh- 
bourhood alliance of the great Huguenot party. See Trevelyan, G.M. England 
under the Stuarts . N.Y., 1910, 136-138. 

Another English writer says that Buckingham took command in 1627 with 
instructions first to offer the citizens of La Rochelle the help which they 
would need if threatened with attack by their King, and then to make good the 
English mastery of the sea and destroy French and Spanish commerce. "The con- 
quest of Re' would have given the English a good basis for naval operations and 
political intrigue." See Montague, F.C. Hi story of England (1603-1660 ). Politi- 
calH istory of England , VII, N.Y. . I g^ j __l43-144. _ 


At that time salt was one of the principal products of the external 
commerce of the French. Both political and economic interests influenced her 
to engage in it, and develop the exportation of that important commodity. 
A valuable trade in salt was carried on in northern Italy and with the Swiss. 1 
This might account to a certain extent for Bichelieu's interest in that part 
of Europe. Furthermore, the large amount of salt consumed in Flanders has 
a peculiar significance when one comes across attempts on the part of Austria 
and Spain to gain absolute control in that country, much to the distress of 
France, as will he shown later. 

La Rochelle was one of the best ports on the ocean, in spite of the 
efforts of Richelieu to build up other harbors where foreigners could obtain 
salt.* The great discoveries had brought about the rising importance of 
all the Atlantic ports- 3 As a result, La Eochelle, Nantes, Dieppe, etc, be- 
came very important not only in the eyes of Richelieu, but in the eyes of 
foreign nations as well. 

The Cardinal felt that England did not have much personal sympathy 
for the Huguenots. He was materialistic enough to base the affair on the 
principle of a struggle for sea power. Indeed, to control the sea was the 
desire of all enemies of France. "None of them," he says, "not even the 
Huguenots, saw the advantage of the control of La Rochelle because of its 
salt mines." 4 Richelieu was probably mistaken in the latter part of his 
assertion. For it is unlikely that the economic importance of La Rochelle, 
especially with regard to the salt mines, was the principal thing which caused 
England, Spain, and Holland to be friendly toward the Huguenots. Of course 

^•D'Avenel, Absolue Monarchie . II, 275. 
2lbid., Ill, 194-5. 
3 Laviffie.E. Histoire de France , V, 277. 
Memoirs, XXIII, 262. 


each country had other motives, but this was common to all. 

Fundamentally, the struggle between England and France was one for 
sea power even at that time. 1 But the salt mines and the control of the 
Garonne and Loire rivers, together with the revenues to be obtained from the 
Dutch and other peoples as a consequence of the control of the salt mines, 
were an object of desire to the English, especially since they carried on an 
important commerce in that cownodity with La Rochelle. Even the Venetian 
ambassador at London seems to have had difficulty in swallowing the statement 
of the English ministry that they had lately conceived of the war against the 
French as based upon the sole preservation of the reformed church and the 
public weal. 3 There can be no doubt that England had an economic interest in 
the welfare of her fellow Protestants in La Rochelle. On the other hand, 
Richelieu at this point frankly admits that one of the predominating motives 
back of his desire to retain La Rochelle was commercial, namely, the control 
of the salt mines. 

Asa first step in opposition to the efforts of England with regard 
to La Rochelle, Richelieu proposed a union with Spain. He did this not only 
for political but also for economic reasons, and even though this plan failed 
it is of importance because it illustrates his diplomatic skill not only in 

■Calendars, (Venetian), 77, 191-192, 282. 

2 Ibid., (Venetian), XX, 341. 

(Domestic), X, 534, 553. 
"After the capture of Re' they (the English) mean to attempt Oleron, which 
is also very important on account of its salt pans, and both islands are very 
convenient as they command the mouths both of the Garonne and the Loire, the 
chief rivers of France, enabling their possessors to take toll sufficient to 
pay the cost of the garrison and fleet with something over, indeed, some say 
that already certain Dutch ships which went to lade salt evaded a duty claimed 
by the English, by main force and flight." From a report of the Venetian am- 
bassador to England in 1627. See Calendars, XX, (Venetian), 191-192. 

Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 374. 


political but also in economic affairs. 

He knew that Spain and France were competitors in the salt trade. 
Therefore he proposed a scheme whereby a price was to be set on that com- 
modity which was to be raised or lowered only by common consent. In this 
agreement he brings out the importance of the salt trade with the northern 
countries, and then says that a mixture of Spanish and French salt would offer 
the best market, due to the fact that one was too strong and the other was 
too weak.* In other words, he offered Spain a partnership in a salt monopoly 
as an inducement towards an alliance against England. The commerce in this 
commodity must have been very important to have caused him to use it as a 
means of bringing about such a vital alliance. 

However, even though he did not succeed in this plan, he went ahead 
and tool: action against the English, who were constantly preying upon the 
French commerce. The Duke of Guise was ordered to prepare a fleet and to 
oppose them. ^ The English were ready to meet them, for the fear of a union 
between France and Spain had caused that country to take a definite stand in 
her relations to La Bochelle.3 England must have seen at a glance that this 
was a plan which promised to break French commercial and political ambitions. 

An edict of September 20th, 1627, breaking off relations with Eng- 
land, indicates that the two nations were on the point of an armed conflict. 4 
This marks definitely not only the beginning of the struggle for control 
of the sea but also the contest for the colonial empire of the New ^orld. 
Richelieu had taken the first step toward this great event, when he began to 
build up the marine. He took a second step when he attempted to increase the 

Memoirs, XXIII, 288-289. 
%ercure Francois . XIV, 38. 

Calendars, (Venetian) , XX, 77. . 
4 Isambert, XVI, 215; Memoirs, XXIII, 277-278. 


political and economic importance of Brittany and Normandy and make the 
harbor of Brest the commercial emporium of the world, together with other 
ports near it. 1 England saw at a glance the danger which threatened her and 
even considered the capture of Brest as a means of thwarting designs of the 
Cardinal, who would have liked to make this port the center of trade and 
navigation. She was afraid of the growth of France, and even the commercial 
alliance proposed between the Hansa cities and France caused her to fear 
the Cardinal as an opponent of England's claims to supremacy on the sea.** 

On account of this distrust of the ambitions of fiichelieu, Great 
Britain began to look for an ally. It was natural enough that La Rochelle 
with its economic importance and its relative political and religious inde- 
pendence should attract the English. Here was the one great chance to de- 
stroy the growing naval power of France before it could threaten either Eng- 
land or her colonies. Both countries began negotiations to break the neutral- 
ity of La Rochelle. The French tried to influence them by the fear of their 
land forces, near at hand; the English by setting forth the interests of the 
place and by blandishments toward the inhabitants, having issued a decree that 
all may trade and bring food into the town and islands, as, according to 
ancient claims, they belong to the English crown, etc In other words, the 
French proposed force, and the English, an economic alliance and old political 
claims . 

^Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 191 

^Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 281. 
"Something has also been said," says the Venetian Ambassador, "about the 
Port of Bre3t, which is considered <£ great advantage for thwarting the designs 
of the Cardinal, who would fain make it the center of trade and navigation, 
but when on the spot they will make their choice." 

•^Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 56. the 
"I believe that Richelieu will gladly listen to this ^proposal of the 
Hansa towns) for the sake of his marine, and it will generate ill will here by 
reason of their claims to supremacy at sea," says the Venetian ambassador to 

4Cal endars f <V» ™» t. , XX a , 341 . ,_ Engla nd ^, 


Both the English and French were well aware of the economic impor- 
tance of these lands of the Huguenots, and each feared the control of the 
latter by the other. But this fear was further increased when the English 
saw in the control of La Rochelle by the French together with an alliance 
with Spain, a loss of English maritime and colonial power. On the other hand, j 
the French saw in English control an invasion of their country, and a loss of j 
valuable economic territory, as well as the chance for future naval expansion. 
It is not surprising that Richelieu said that he would not talk peace with 
the English as long as their flag waved above French soil, 1 nor that in his 
efforts to convert France from a continental into a naval power, he threatened 
England with dire misfortunes, when he should have a fleet large enough to 
defeat them.*" The English knew when he became superintendent, grandmaster, 
etc., that they would have to look out for his increase of naval strength 
and his political alliances, especially with La Rochelle. 3 If these two 
countries began their colonial struggle at this time, it is to the credit 
of Richelieu, that France won the first engagement in the capture of La Ro- 
chelle . 

The sols basis on which the French would make peace with the Eng- 
lish in 1629 was that England should give up all thoughts of La Rochelle and 
the Huguenots forever. 4 Richelieu realized that if France was to attain 
national political and economic unity, and was to be able to enter upon an 
expansive policy, both Spain and England would have to be guarded against. 

Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 371. 
2 Ibid., (Venetian), XX, 179, 199. 
3 Ibii. , (Venetian), XX, 155. 
4 Ibid., (Venetian), XXI, 7. 


France must have her place in the sum, and no interests of that country 
should be endangered by either nation. 1 

In 1629, the rivalry between two nations had extended into the 
distant colonies. Port Royal in Canada and the island of Saint-Christophe 
had been taken from the French by the English. As a result, Richelieu sent a 
fleet "to show the English that they were not Kings of the sea any more." 2 
Under the leadership of Cahusac, they in 1629 recaptured the island of 
Saint-Christophe. 3 Richelieu accused the English of entertaining the desire 
even at this time to cast the French out of Canada, a remarkable forecast of 
later events. 

Meanwhile, in 1629 the Sardinal sent Chateauneuf to England as his 

representative to try to arrange a settlement of disputes and a conmercial 

treaty, which would enable both countries to live in a happy union. 4 Under 

these general directions the ambassador had specific instructions which he 

was to try to carry out. For example, he was to try to settle the dispute 

with regard A the commercial relations of both France and England with Spain, 
for both nations were trying to prevent each other from trading with the 
latter. He was also to take up the affair of the flags, in regard to salutes 
on the high seas. 

But what was the cause of this change in policy? A little while 
before Richelieu had demanded a fight to the finish for the control of the 
sea, not only with the Spanish but with the English. Now he desired peace. 

Memoirs, XXIII, 281. 
betters, III, 446-447. 
3 Ibid., Ill, 451. 

betters, III, 447-448 ; 518-519; 477-478. 




The explanation is simple. The Thirty Years' War had reached a stage where- 
in the defeat of the Hapsburgs in Austria and Spain seemed a necessity. 
Richelieu wished England to join with him in aiding Sweden. 1 Therefore, 
he had to give up his active struggle with England for control of the sea, 
in order to obtain her aid in the Thirty years' War. Whether he would have 
continued the struggle after the war if he had lived is a mere matter of 
conjecture. The probabilities are that when peace had been declared and his 
long delayed marine had been created he would have taken up again an economic 
and political opposition to England. 2 

However, Richelieu showed his diplomatic genius by having his ambas- 
sador demand a new treaty from the English, which would bring about secure 

3 I 

and free mutual commerce. All agreements in past treaties were to be renewed'. 


Furthermore, the problem concerning the restitution of vessels captured by 
the English was to be taken up, 4 and at least a compromise wa3 to be agreed 
upon. England was no longer to call into question her neutrality by selling 
ammunition to the "infidels", which caused even the English people to murmur, i 

The colonial question arose at this time, but the French ambassa- 
dor wisely placed the emphasis in the other commercial questions. However, 
it is significant that in his Memoirs Richelieu reports that the King of Eng- 
land told Chateauneuf , that the King of France would produce a better indica- 
tion of his desire of living in peace and good friendship with him, by de- 
parting from his desire to become master of the sea. In other words Riche- 
lieu himself points out that even the English centered the entire struggle 

betters, III, 447-448. 

2 See Calendar of State Papers , XX, 179. 

SMemoirs, XXV, 198-199; Levasseur. I. 264. 

4 A peace agreement had been made April 24, 1629, which established ffee 
commerce, etc. But this agreement had been broken by England. See Memoirs, 
XXV, 199, also Corps Universel Diplomatique, V, pt. 2, 580-581. 

^Memoirs, XXV, 199-201. 

6Memo i r s , XXV, 201-205. ! 



on the control of the sea. "Jealousy of French power on the ocean caused 
English opposition in 1629:" says the Cardinal, "even the merchants of Eng- 
land were jealous of those of France." 1 

The recapture of Saint-Christophe strengthened the fears of the 
English. But Chateauneuf assured them that the French desired only to en- 
force the peace terms, and that they should have no fear of the growing sea 
power of the French. ~ The English King replied that just as Queen Elizabeth 
had warned Henry IV to leave the sea alone, he, Charles I, would do the 
same. For the continued strength of France on the sea would make for her 
many enemies. 3 

Richelieu, in order to settle the trouble concerning the sea, had 
then sent Count de Nitschdil to see the King of England. But the latter was 
not willing to concede that equality on the sea which Eichelieu demanded. 
He said that the French were causing trouble by persisting in increasing 
their marine power. The French representatives laughed at the idea of anoth- 
er person's telling a great ruler what he should do in his state. 4 Richelieu 
in reply asserted that the arms of France were always for defence and 
assistance against enemies and never for purposes of oppression.^ In other 
words, the welfare of France demanded a strong marine and a power on the sea 
regardless of the desires of other nations. Richelieu saw clearly the 

^Memoirs, XXV, 211. The Dutch ambassador in France wrote in 1628 "that 
the Cardinal clings to his old idea about establishing companies as in Hol- 
land, and extending navigation. The English will never permit thi6, so as 
not to put arms in the hands of thousands of hostile neighbors against an 
open Kingdom like this, and state policy does not allow it." Calendars, 
(Venetian), XXI, 446. 

2 Memoirs, XXV, 201-5. A good example of the fears of some of the English 
people is found in a letter of an English captain in 1630, who feared the in- 
tention of France to dominate Canada and iiew England to the detriment of the 
English. Calendars, (Colonial, 1574-1660), I, 106. 

Memoirs, XXV, 204-205. 

^Memoirs, XXV, 205-6. 

oMemoirs. XXV, 205. 


importance of this phase of his administration, and furthermore must have 
seen what was behind the demands of the English. Commerce and colonization 
could not help but be important factors in the conflict. 

In 1630 De Fontenay-Mareuil took Chateauneuf ' s place in England. 
Richelieu instructed him to try to obtain the restitution of Canada, and the 
restoration of the merchandise and vessels captured since the peace agreement 
of 1629, and to try to arrange a good place between the two crowns, and set- 
tle all commercial difficulties. He even mentioned the so-called "Laws of 
the Sea", as giving the final decision with regard to the restitution of the 
ships. "Reason and justice are to decide affairs," he said. 1 The new am- 
bassador was to try and settle the commercial relations between France and 
England, and furthermore to determine England's attitude in the Thirty Years' 
War, especially with respect to the Palatinate . 2 

Finally, on March 29, 1632, after many negotiations, the treaty of 
Saint-Germain was signed. In this treaty justice was to guide the nations 
in the matter of prizes of the sea, depredations, and reprisals. Commerce 
and navigation were to conform to the liberal principles of the past treaties 
of 1606 and 1610, which, according to the French, had been ignored by the 
English. Lastly, the colonial posessions taken by England were to be returned 
to France.'^ It seems that the importance of this treaty has been overlooked. 
It shows clearly the competency of Richelieu, in settling not only political 
disputes but economic problems as well. It was a clever solution of the 
difficulties between England and France. Richelieu obtained what he desired 


betters, III, 518-519. 
2 Ibid., Ill, 671-672. 

ercure Francois . XVIII, 39-52; Calendars, (Venetian), XXI, 311-315; 
ur, I, 264; Corps Universel Diplomatique, etc., VI, pt . I, 31-32. 


and strengthened the commercial and colonial power of France thereby. 

After this, the Cardinal was busy with the great continental 
struggle and could not concentrate so much upon the foreign economic and 
political situation. However, in 1635 he sent a combined French and Dutch 
fleet to guard the channel . But the Dutch did not remain long with the 
French. They were afraid of the English claim of being "Lord of the sea". 
To avoid taking sides in a sea dispute between the two nations, the Dutch 
sailed away and left the French alone. 1 

"The King of England," says Richelieu.'in a notice placed in the 
Bourse affirmed the English control of the channel. Commerce should be 
free but under English supervision." Thus the struggle between these two 
countries for sea and colonial power was already assuming an important place 
with eyes of both nations. 2 But Richelieu was forced to overlook this phase 
of his policy and adjust it to other parts of his administration. He tried 
to keep up friendly relations with the British and keep them in an alliance 
with Holland and France instead of with Spain. 3 He even tried to settle the 
question as to who should salute when English and French ships met on the 
high seas. %e favored their relative location as determining this matter. 
That is, if they met near the French coast, the English saluted the French, 
and if they met near the English coast it was vice-versa. 4 Nothing was 

^■Memoirs, XXVIII, 359-360. 

^The English, in 1636, were constantly threatened by French ships. The 
French sailors called the English, "English dogs". Eichelieu according to 
reports had promised a sum of money to those men of war who could interrupt 
the King od England's packet. English vessels coming from La Hochelle, were 
forced to avoid the French fleets for fear of capture. See Calendars, 
(Domestic, 1635-1636), IX, 561-562. 

^Letters, IV, 559-567. 

betters, V, 66-70. 


accomplished with regard to this point. 

In 163?, he still tried to get the English to break their neutrality 
and come in against Austria and Spain. "However, the gain," he said, "in 
selling contraband goods as a neutral with warring nations, made England a 
neutral." 1 It is plain that Rfchelieu could see the economic forces under- 
neath the diplomacy of the nations at that time. In his Memoirs in 1638, 
he say3, "Is this neutrality of England due to an honest love of repose, or 
is it due to the gain to be derived thereby, during such a neutrality, by 
carrying contraband goods to warring nations as well as carrying on during 
the wars the entire commerce of France and Spain. Is that why. England kept 
from a direct alliance with France? 1 ' 2 At another place he complains because 
of the fact that England constantly aided Spain to the detriment of France. 3 
England still feared the French on the sea, and Richelieu realized this as 
is shown by the fact that he instructed his ambassador there to avoid a dis- 
cussion of England's imaginary empire of the sea. 4 One must note that even 
at this time Richelieu called it a dream. He knew that England was torn 
between two policies, the materialistic neutrality, or the aid of the Elector 
Palatine by participation in the war. It was the aim of France to get her 
to follow the latter policy. 5 

When the Cardinal died, his plans, of course, were left incompleted. 
What he would have done after the Thirty Years' War is not mere conjecture 
however, for in his T estament Politique , he has strongly advised the necessity 
of a powerful marine to oppose the claims of the English as being Lord of the 
Seas." 6 In other words, he would have disputed England's claims to the sea, 

Hatters, V, 854-856. 
^Memoirs, XXX, 523. 
3lbid., XXX, 529. 
^Letters, VI, 10-12. 
5Testament Politique. II. 49-50. 

6 Testamen t Politique. II. 50-52 


and the outcome would, in all probabilities, have been a war in which the 
French would have been better prepared than they were later on. 

The Cardinal looked at England to a large extent from the economic 
point of view. He saw in England and Holland, two of his great rivals in the 
East Indies and Persia. 1 In fact one must conclude that the former was 
a definite colonial and commercial opponent of France at that time. Spain 
was on the decline and he knew it. England was the enemy of the future and 
he wanted to prepare against her. That the latter was the inevitable 
cial and political rival of France was plain to the Cardinal. If he had 
lived long enough to carry out his economic policy it is a question as to 
whether our land would have contained one English-speaking nation as today. 
At any rate the Thirty Years' War put off the commercial and colonial struggle 
for a hundred years, for better or for worse, and Eichelieu seems to have 
been aware that it had to come in the end. 

Turning to Holland, one discovers that Eichelieu 1 s attitude toward 
that country was different from that toward England and Spain. As has been 
shown before, he admired the Butch industrial and commercial genius, built 
up in spite of numerous obstacles. Indeed, he described it as a model for 
the future growth of France. 2 He was at no time actually willing to under- 
take a hostile attitude toward this nation, although he threatened her with 
dire punishment when she refused to lend him boats to be used against Eng- 
land. ^ 

Just as with England, the economic rivalry between France and 

Te stament Politique . II, 73-74. 
2 See Chapter XII, 184, 186. 
Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 192. 


Holland, even though it existed, was not permitted to dominate on account 

of the Thirty Years' War. 1 In fact it seems that the alliance of 162? with 

the Dutch, for mutual protection and satisfactory commercial relations, was 

an effort on the part of Richelieu to enlist the aid of this country not 

only to put down the Huguenots, but also to aid in the prosecution of the 

Thirty Years' War. 2 He was constantly afraid of an alliance between Spain 

and Holland, 3 and also, he did not like to see the Dutch carrying most of the 

French commerce on their vessels. 

The treaty of 1627 was arranged with the purpose of removing these 

difficulties, and of engaging the Dutch to act as the protectors of the 

French marine which was being built at that time. Improved commercial rela- 


tions was the result of this treaty. Yet the Dutch were not as friendly 
as they might have been, when one is shown the incident in which they 
looked on in glee while the English captured some French vessels near Holland? 
The fear of the English by the Dutch, was one of the most bitter complaints 
made by Richelieu during the Huguenot affair. He says that Spain proved 
to be a false ally, and Holland an unneutral neutral, in that she persisted 
in sending ammunition to the English. She was afraid of the latter country 
and really favored her. 6 Richelieu did not like this, as is shown by his 
letters. He thought it right for France to trade with Spain, as their 
commerce was important; but for the Dutch to do so was wrong. 

^Levasseur, I, 266. 
^ercure Francois , XIV, 14. 
3Maximes D'Etat , 730-731 . 

^evasseur, 1-, ~266; Corps Universel Diplomatique, etc., V, pt. 2, 523. 
^Mercure Francois , XIV, 159. 
6 Letters, III , 66, 78. 

7 Ibid., Ill, 471. Holland as a matter of fact was rather in sympathy 
with the Huguenots and the English as against Richelieu. She not only refused 
to take action as an ally of France, but would only lend boats to the French 
to be used against Austria and Spain. See Calendars, (Venetian), XX, 115, 
192, 310, 353. 




It is interesting to follow the economic motives which guided 
all nations. Each one was looking after his own interests regardless of 
international rights. A breach on the part of another country wa3 considered 
however, as a sufficient cause for a strong protest. 

Both Holland and France were looking after their own interests on 
the sea. The former country had before this supplanted French navigation 
upon the East coast of Africa, and was very strong in the East Indies. * She, 
like England, took pleasure in carrying on depredations upon French commerce, 
even forming an alliance with the Barbary pirates to do so. Richelieu tried 
to force the Dutch to accept terms by which rules of reciprocity should 
guide their commercial relations. "He did not want to undertake a tariff 
war," says one writer, "which would have alienated the valuable Dutch commerce 
and influence. He tried to make the Dutch his associates in enterprises in 
the East and in the Americas. The treaties of 1624 and 1627 stipulated that 
they aid the French merchant boats, and allow their men to associate with 
the French in the navigation to both of the Indies." In other words, Biche- 
lieu desired to settle their commercial relations by means of a compromise 
and thus open north Europe, the Levant, Africa, Canada, the Indies, Persia, 
etc., to trade. 

The Cardinal knew that even though Holland was a dangerous economic 
and political rival, yet she was the natural enemy of Spain and as such should 
be used as one of the elements which was to contribute to the defeat of the 
Hapsburgs. In 1630 he took this stand definitely when he arranged a treaty 

i Levasseur l I, 273. 

igeonneau, II, 424-425. T>his treaty illustrates the fact that Holland 
also desired to stay by her agreements with England. Probably she was afraid 
of the France of the future. Furthermore, this treaty broke up the Franco- 
Snanish alliance, much to the dlfcgust of the latter. See .Calendars, Clenetian) , 
ttCra See Corps Universel Diplomatique. etc. , V, pt . 2,^52^454', 525, 605- * 
606 i VI, pt. I, 59-70, 134-125, 127, 343-243. 


with Holland which completed those of the past. After this she was one of 
the allies, and her conmercial power was forgotten for the time being by the 

However, the Cardinal did not forget the economic side, as shown 
by the fact that in his Testament Politique , he left plans for obtaining the 
commerce in the north which the Dutch and the Flemish had controlled. 2 This 
has an added significance when studied in connection with the Thirty Years' 

Richelieu's relations with Italy were of course bound up with his 
purpose of keeping the Spanish and Austrians from uniting through that country, 
which would have been the death blow to any plans that he had with regard 
to the development of France. Her boundaries had to be secure, not only at 
that time, but also for the future. 

Richelieu did not desire territory in Italy. In fact he proposed 

the formation of a confederation in that country, 4 which would keep Austria 


and Spain separated, for the Cardinal frankly admitted in 1637 that the 
French did not desire new lands in Italy, or on the Rhine border. 6 All he 
wanted wa3 an opportunity to develop France without any fear of foreign in- 
vasion, a prerequisite to a strong economic state. Until a lasting peace 
was assured for France so far as it concerned foreign affairs, Richelieu was 
willing to fight.''' Indeed the Cardinal goes so far as to claim that peace 


as he see3 it would be a true peace for all Christianity. However, his 

^Isambert, XVI, 356*Corps Universel Diplomatique, etc. ,V,pt. 2, 605-606. 
2 Testament Politique , II, 69-70. 

• ^aximes D'Etat , 815, etc.; Letters, I, 260-267, 294-296. 

4 Letters, III, 239. 

5 Ibid., VII, 695. 

Slbid., V, 595-597. 

^Memoirs, XXVI, 42. 

betters, IV, 29. 



altruism was not such that this can be entirely accepted. 

The Cardinal's interest in Sweden and the North in general was close- 
ly bound up in the Thirty Years' War and the question as to the control of the 
Baltic sea. Of course the aid given by Richelieu to the Swedish King in his 
attempt to overcome the Hapsburgs has been mentioned by most writers. But the 
motives which caused Richelieu to do so have been brought forth in rather an 
unsatisfactory way. The Cardinal did use this Scandinavian country as a tool 
to defeat the Emperor. But why? In his memoirs he says that Sweden entered 
the war on account of the fear of the increasing size of the Emperor's domin- 
ions, which threatened her boundaries; and also, to aid the poor northern 
German states.and preserve freedom of comirerce in the Baltic. * Richelieu 
therefore sent Charnace to Sweden as his representative, who was to tell the 
king that France was in sympathy with the misery of Germany, and was afraid 
of the extension of the frontiers of the Empire, whose ambitions had no limits. 
He desired to furnish troops and money to aid the Swedes, which should be used 
to maintain the liberty of the Princes, communities, and cities of Germany, 
and to conserve the security of the two seas, the Baltic, the ocean, and their 
ports. To do this, the forces of the Emperor should be driven out of Ger- 
many and their fortresses demolished. To assist in thi3 undertaking, France 
was to furnish money yearly, as long as necessary, and the English, Dutch 
and Danes were also to aid the Swedes. In other words, Richelieu feared the 
growing universal power of the Empire. The Danes had failed to stem the tide. 
Now the control of the Baltic was in danger. Richelieu and his allies, in 
order to stop this threatened economic and political control of the entire 

Memoirs, XXVI, 397. 
^ercure Francois , XVII, 469. 



north by the empire, urged Sweden to sacrifice herself. She was to restore 
the freedom of commerce on the Baltic and the ocean, which Richelieu desired 
so much. In order to do so, the German Princes must be given control of the 
coast, and the imperial forces had to be pushed back from their advanced 

It may be that Richelieu's relations with the northern states were 

largely economic. He saw the value of trade in the north and in the Baltic. 

In 1640 mention is made of the fact that France did not carry on much trade 

with Poland, for it was mostly in the hands of the Austrians. 1 Indeed it is 

likely that the control of the Baltic was one of the great factors in the 

Thirty Years' War. At any rate, Richelieu desired the Baltic and its commerce 

to be free. Thi3 together with the fall of the Empire was bound to have 

great economic and political consequences. Richelieu as shown by his efforts 

to develop foreign commerce, would have been only too glad to increase the 


French trade in the north. He could have accomplished this, if the Baltic 
had become controlled only by the Baltic countries with whom he was on 
friendly terms. 

It seems quite probable, as Deschamps has pointed out, that Riche- 
lieu might have preferred if he had the choice, action along colonial lines, 
instead of a continental policy.'-* Both parts of his administration were 
intermingled, and he realized that success in both was a requirement neces- 
sary to be carried out if he wanted to develop and increase the political and 
economic grandeur of France. Just as the Seven Years' War was closely bound 

betters, VII, 691-892. 
2 See Chapter XII, 199. 
^Deschamps, 80. 


up with the colonial struggle of France and England, the Thirty Yeara' War 
decided whether or not the Hapsburgs were to be the continental and colonial 
powers of the world as against the claims of France, England, and their 
allies. "The possession and exploitation of the colonies had become an inter- 
national political question at that time." 1 

Richelieu continually claimed that France desired no territory as 
a result of the Thirty Years' War, beyond rounding our her natural boundaries? 
What then was his purpose in entering the war and playing the part he did 
if one grants him the truth of that statement? 

In his Memoirs, he claims that he sought a permanent peace. He 
wanted to prevent the ambition of Austria from causing her to overcome the 
weaker German States. Each nation should get what belonged to it. 3 Accord- 
ing to the Cardinal, his policy was to protect the rights of small nations, 
against the growing power of the Empire. He claims that he had no material 
interest in doing so, but only desired a peace which would be for the benefit 
of all the allies- 4 In a letter to the Swiss Cantons, he assured them that 
he was working only for a permanent peace, and while fighting for it, he 
would not infringe upon their territory. 5 It seems probable that Richelieu 
really believed that a victory over Spain and the Empire would benefit the 
world. Yet he constantly considered the welfare of France, even before that 
of any other nation or group of nations. That was the guiding force of his 
entire administration. 

Now carrying this idea of "state interest" to its logical conclusionj 

■••Deschamps, 80-88. 
2 Memoirs, XVII, 403-406. 
3lbid., XXVII, 517-521; Letters, VI, 243. 
4 Ibid., XXVII, 499-500. 
5 Ibid., XXX, 340. 





it seems quite in harmony with the rest of Richelieu's administration to say, 
that his opposition to Spain naturally involved an alliance to overpower her 
on the Baltic as well as on the Mediterranean. Deschamps has mentioned 
an anonymous Memoir of 1626, which affected Bichelieu to a marked extent and 
indicates the patriotic policy behind the Cardinal's administration at that 
time. The end proposed was a commercial and maritime league to weaken Spain 
on the Mediterranean, and the first step was to be the creation of a navy 
and increased commerce in that field. 1 Richelieu in his creation of a marine 
accomplished this first step. His attempts to draw England, Holland, Denmark, 
and Sweden into the war against the Hapsburgs marks the second step taken by 
Richelieu toward the completion of that plan. 

In 1632, Richelieu received from a Hollander by the name of Wilhelm 
Usselingue, a written plan which proposed an association (commercial and 
Colonial) with Sweden and the German princes. The purpose of it was to drive 
Spain from the control of the seas. The writer gives as his reason for this 
plan, that the house of Austria has been the cause of all the trouble for 
more than a hundred years, and the King of Spain was the chief supporter of 
that ambitious house. Since the ruler of Spain was only powerful through the 
money brought from the American colonies, it was for France to form a com- 
pany which would destroy Spain commercially and colonially. Richelieu's 
efforts to obtain allies against the Hapsburgs shows that he probably heeded 
this advice. 

But it is evident that Richelieu must have realized the economic 
importance of an alliance against these powers, when the Mercure Francois , in 
1628, published the various efforts of Spain and Austria to form a commercial 

^Deschamps, 93-94. 
2 Ibid., 95-96. 


and political alliance against France, England, and Holland. In 1628, one 
can read an account of the attempts of the Eapsburgs and Poland to control 
the Baltic by means of a mutual alliance, together with the aid of the 
Hanseatic cities, especially Lubeck, Danzig, and Hamburg, which cities were 
all offered great privileges, in return for which they should leave the com- 
mercial alliance with Holland and England. The Hapsburgs even tried to get 
Sweden in by offering Prussia to the country in order to separate her from 
Denmark (which they desired to overrun) . They said openly that their purpose 
was to control the trade and commerce of the Baltic and to ruin the Dutsh 
thereby. To do this they planned a strong fleet on the Baltic. 1 It is no 
wonder that Bichelieu was so anxious to bring Sweden and the North German 
states into an alliance with France. It was plainly to be seen that France 
and her allies were threatened by a combination founded by the Hapsburgs, 
which might cause their political and economic ruin if allowed to continue. 

It is no wonder that Bichelieu tried to settle the commercial 
troubles with England and Holland by means of a compromise, in order to meet 
this great rival. One sees why he neglected the finances more or less* 
"Spain," says the Merc -are Francois , "frankly admitted that in alliance with 
the Empire, she intended to gain control of the principal commerce of Europe, 
by means of control of the Baltic, together with the aid of Lubeck, Danzig, 
etc"** In 1624 a council of commerce and an admiralty had been established 
in Spain and in the Netherlands and the navy was increased. Agents were 
then sent to the German cities offering a commercial treaty with Spain together 
with the promise of removing all the traces of past devastation in those 

^• Mercure Franc ois. XIV, 354, etc. 
2 Ibid., XIV, 355-373. 


regions. But this plan failed, as the cities refused to unite against England 
and Denirark, etc. Also, the Empire was not able to seize the control of the 
straits from Denmark, as Holland, Denmark, and Sweden all opposed that move. 
It is interesting to note that the result of all these negotiations only 
served to unite the German cities more closely to Sweden, Denmark and Holland. 

It is evident that Richelieu appreciated the danger of a sort of 
zollverein comprising the Imperial lands, Spain, and the German states, 
against Sweden, Denmark, England, Holland and France. This would have re- 
sulted in a commercial war which would have been extended to all parts of the 
world, and so he took steps to prevent its success, by promoting the entrance 
of Sweden. 

Unfortunately for Sweden, and happily* for Richelieu, Gustavus 
Adolphus was killed in the battle of Lutzon in 1632. For in 1633 appeared 
in the Mercu re Franco is a very significant account of the proposed political 
and economic alliance between Sweden and the northern German states, in order 
to complete the war against the Hapsburgs, and to begin a commercial and 
colonial policy which extended even into the Americas and the East Indies. 
Gustavus Adolphus planned this in 1626, and Oxenstiern tried to carry it out 
in 1633,1 It is not to be wondered that Richelieu became rather cool towards 
Sweden when he learned about this plan, and the military successes of her 


great King and leader made it probable that she might be able to carry it out. 
The Cardinal was not guided purely by political ambitions, when he threw 
France into the war in 1635 and assumed the leadership in the war by this act. 
It is possible that something besides political considerations caused a protest 
on the part of France as to the intentions of Austria to control Liege in 1637, 

^Mercure Francois, XIX, 468-485. In 1630, Gustavus Adolphus arranged a trea- 
ty of commerce between Danzig and Sweden. See Corps Universel Diplomatique, 
etc. , V, pt. 2, 596-59S. 

2 ffakeman. 94. ,, _ 


with which France carried on important commercial relations. 1 Speaking in 
general terms, Eichelieu definitely desired France to develop not only on 
the continent but in colonial possessions as well. Austria and Spain both 
stood in the way of the first step to be taken toward the achievement of that 

policy. As a result of the Thirty Years* War, Germany became open to the 

power of the 

European powers, and the A Empire a thing of the past. France was thus afforded 
a chance to expand toward her natural frontiers. Spain fell further in 
national power. The Portuguese revolution in which Richelieu was especially 
interested left her Empire in a very weak and helpless condition. What a 
chance for political and economic expansion for France! How unfortunate it 
was for that country, that her great minister was unable to live long enough 
to complete the economic side of his administration, as well as the political 
which he had so well begun'. 

Thus it was the result of the Thirty Years' War which decided 
the first question as to who should control the commerce and the colonial 
projects of the world. Eichelieu helped to remove Spain and the Empire from 
their claims along those lines. Who among the allies would be the leader 
in the economic and political affairs of the time, was a question of the 
future. As was said before, Eichelieu knew that England was the great power 
that France would have to contend with for control of the sea, after the 
ambitions of Spain in that direction had been settled. His external policy 
was his method of preparing for this coming emergency. 

In the last place, it does not seem that due credit has been given 
Eichelieu in his conduct of the Thirty Years' War. The very fact that he 

' Mercure Francois , XXII, 55. 


was able to throw other countries against the enemy by furnishing them 
with money, certainly indicates his genius. For while he was doing this, 
he tried to settle internal affairs and develop his external policy, so that 
after the war France would be able to assume the leading part in European 
affairs, because of her own great economic and political strength and grandeur. 
"All this was a matter of prudence," he says, "for by keeping your enemies 
occupied with your allies, you have time not only to furnish them money, but 
to save some for yourself. However, when your allies really need you, then 
it is an act of wisdom and courage to come to their aid. 

It certainly would seem that Richelieu followed out to the highest 
degree his principle of placing the interest of the state first, in his con- 
duct of the Thirty Years' War. After all, what he desired was the political 
and economic supremacy of France in Europe. In order to gain this he pushed 
his allies into the war, and finally at the opportune time entered it himself. 
When he died, things were shaping themselves in such a way that he could have 
turned his undivided attention to the economic development of his nation, 
and to the questions which would have arisen out of his attempts to develop 
such phases of his government as colonization. Of course England was a prob- 
lem for the future. But what would the future have brought if the Cardinal 
had lived? At any rate the English and French colonial struggle was the 
natural outcome of Richelieu's administration. Imperialism had begun. 

^■Memoirs, XI, 307; Testament Politique , I, 45. 

2 3 

Chapter XIV 


The early death of Richelieu was certainly an unfortunate event 
for the development of France, for his career ended at a time when he was 
planning to carry to final completion the magnificent political and economic 
program which he had planned out and begun. It was doubly unfortunate he- 
cause of the fact that his successor, while he was able to carry out the ex- 
ternal political phase of Richelieu's administration, nevertheless failed 
to aid in any way the general economic and internal political ideas promulgat- 
ed by the Cardinal. As a result, whatever Richelieu accomplished in an 
economic way was neglected until Colbert came along, and by that time France 
had lost to a certain extent her great opportunity. One writer suggests 
that if a man strong in both political and economic affairs had succeeded 
Richelieu, no doubt the final disappearance of feudalism in the 18th century 
would not have been delayed. The French Revolution would probably have come; 
but the horrors of the French Revolution would have been spared. Aristocracy 
and hereditary monarchy would have been swept away none the less, and the 
republicanism of modern France would have arisen, as it has arisen in their 
place, but the substitution would have taken place without convulsions and 
without bitterness. "The question after hi3 death is whether the monarchy 
will stay with the Third Estate or will turn on them and be conservative. 
In the first case, there will be the peaceful establishment of the modern 
era, and in the second, a reign of terror and war." 1 The second choice was 

^Bridges, 40-41. 


made, and it is indeed unfortunate that the death of this great man became one 
of the forces leading to the great catastrophe of French history. 

Colbert, who succeeded Mazarin, was able to build upon the foundation 
laid by Richelieu. "One must admire," says Gouraud, "the security of princi- 
ples, when after twenty years of civil troubles and debasement of nearly all 
commerce the foundation laid by the latter great man was found nearly intact, 
and it was upon this that his economic successor built the great commercial 
grandeur of France." 1 One can easily confirm the truth of this statement by 
consulting the achievements of Colbert. Indeed to Colbert alone comes the 
glory of having made France for a brief period the greatest colonial power of 
modem times. "In this," says one writer, "he showed himself to be the docile 
son of Richelieu. He borrowed from him the method of forming companies with 
privileges and monopolies. The contracts of 1664 were formulated in the same 
manner as those of the time of the revolution. Indeed the patents of the 
company of the 'one hundred associates' and the company of the 'West Indies' , 
seemed to have been written by the same hand." 2 Colbert completed the colonial 
conceptions of Richelieu. The latter had placed conquest and settlement of 
the new lands in the first place. He considered the honor and welfare of the 
Kingdom, and its influence in Europe. Colbert, minister of finances, took 
upon himself the task of increasing the richness of the country, accomplished 
by means of colonization, which wa3 an economic effort. He put in the first 
place the commercial interests, which had remained in the second place accord- 
ing to the Cardinal's conception. 3 One might go on and show just in what way 
Colbert built upon the economic foundations laid by Richelieu with regard to 

••■Gouraud, I, 198. 
2 Deschamps, 144-146. 
3 Ibid., 146. 


finances, the marine, industry, etc., but it suffices to say that the accom- 
plishments of Richelieu served as a worthy basis for the brilliant protective 
policy of Colbert. It is indeed unfortunate that the continental policy 
of Louis XIV should have prevented the carrying out of the peaceful economic 
ideas set forth in the Testament Politique , which Richelieu left to posterity. 

Richelieu unconsciously believed in the mercantilistic doctrine 
and tried to follow it in his administration, in spite of the many external 
and internal political troubles, which tended to weaken his efforts along 
this line. Indeed, he tried his best to make the state as strong as possible 
internally as well as externally. His financial policy was weak in some res- 
pects, but this was due more to the unfortunate war than to any personal 
mistake made by him. On the other hand he diminished the power of the Hugue- 
nots and nobles as well, and after he had put them in their proper position 
of subordination to the central power, he did all he could to encourage 
them to devote themselves to agriculture, industry, and commerce. ^ This il- 
lustrates his efforts to make France strong within. One writer says in re- 
gard to his relations with the nobles: "Richelieu's razing' of the fortresses 
of the nobility was one of the most important steps ever taken towards inter- 
nal freedom of intercourse within France." 2 

In regard to his foreign political policy, it suffices to say that 
the Cardinal was strongly influenced by his economic and political conceptions 
of the strong state. Indeed, besides the economic problems involved in the 
Thirty Years' War, as well as the aim of accomplishing the downfall of the 
rival house and the territorial settlement to be obtained thereby, he saw in 

Rambaud, Civilisation Francais , I, 572. 
2 Schmoller, G. TheJAerca^te^Jza^, N.Y. 1902, I, 54. 


the peace to come the climax of the economic growth of France. For after all, 
a strong state politically, a good economic foundation, and an era of peace 
in which the work could be accomplished, was the ideal of Richelieu, and no 
correct conception of his career can be obtained, unless this is taken into 

That he fully intended to develop his country in the time of future 
peace is clearly brought out in hi3 Testament Politique , which was written 
toward the last of his career when he knew that death was going to prevent 
the carrying out of his plans. "Ju3t as his Memoirs were the accomplishments 
of the pa3t, so hi3 Testament Politique '. 1 he says, "would be the guide for the 
future." 1 Then in concluding the first part of his great work, he sums up 
the keynote of his entire administration when he says: "Up to the present 
the deeds of your Majesty have been related. I certainly believe that they 
will end happily if they are followed by a repose, which will give the means 
by which the state may be heaped up with all kinds of advantages, gains, etc." 2 
There is no doubt that Richelieu desired and looked forward to a future golden 
age which would follow the troublesome times of which he was a part. One 
finds evidence of this in his various writings. For example, in his Testament 
Politique . he has the following to say concerning peace. "Tour Majesty being 
naturally of a tender constitution, not very healthy, of restless impatient 
humor, especially when you are with the army, of which you take the leadership, 
I should think myself guilty of a crime, if I did not make it my humble re- 
quest for you to avoid war for the future, as much as possible; which I do 
upon this basis, that the levity and inconsistency of the French, can only 
be vanquished by the presence of their master, and that your Majesty cannot 

^Memoirs, XI, 269-271. (Includes Introduction to the Testament Politique , 
and part one.) Testament Politique , Introduction, I, 1-5. 
2 Ibid., XI, 349-350; Testament Politiqu e, I, 60. 




without exposing yourself to ruin, fix upon so lasting a design, nor conse- 
quently expect a good success from it. You have shown your valor and 
military power sufficiently to think of nothing like that for the future, 
but to enjoy that peace and tranquillity which you have acquired for the King- 
dom by your labor, being in a position to defend yourself against all those 
who, contrary to public faith, would offend you anew." 1 In other words, peace 
was the final goal toward which the Cardinal had worked. And even though 
he admitted the heavy cost in treasures and suffering, yet he believed that 
the ideal was worth the efforts and the privations. 

In fact, the erection of fortifications was brought about simply 
for the security to be obtained in the time of future peace. 2 During the 
progress of the Thirty Years' War Eichelieu asserted that he wanted a peace 
which was to be secure and general."' Which of course would have had to be 
a peace dictated from the French point of view. Yet at no time during the 
war did the Cardinal desire any great territorial gains except those which 
affected the security of his boundaries. 4 

Richelieu as a consequence of his policy had numerous enemies among 
the nobles, clergy, Huguenots, etc., who were more or less restricted by his 
efforts. Thus, as has been pointed out, he appealed to the people through 
his Mercure Francois for support.^ He recognized the fact that their interests 
and the King's were the same, and thus sought to make clear to them the 
reasons for what he did. One of his representatives pointed out at one time 
the advantages of the state of peace which was to follow, and the consequent 
revival from past disasters, war, etc** "Thus, as a consequence, "says 

1 Testament Politique , I, 196-197. 

2 Ibid., I, 58. 
Memoirs, XXVIII, 412. 
^Bridges, 96. 

%ercure Francois, XII, 759. 


Bonnefon, "in contact with the logical and firm policies of the Cardinal, 
the French people began to take notice of the true interests of the country 
and the public, and if it had at first been distrustful of the minister be- 
cause of the brutality of his plans perceived now the farsightedness 

and the justice of the policies which he conceived and was carrying out."* 
In this regard the beautiful letter of his contemporary Voiture is significant. 
The latter praises the farsightedness of the Cardinal's costly military policy, 
as being a necessary prerequisite for the future wealth and growth of the 
country. "One must admit," he says, "that instead of ruining France, he has 
saved her millions by simply taking La fiochelle, which has been in a state 
of constant revolt and thu3 a constant expense." 2 He then goes on to justify 
the part taken by Eichelieu in the Thirty Years' War. "If the war ends, 
as it appears to indicate, in a victory, Eichelieu will then find the means 
of winning the admiration of all. Being as wise as he is, he has realized 
after so many experiences, what is best; and will turn his attention toward 
making that state the most flourishing of all, after having made it the most 
formidable. He will make evident an ambition which is the most beautiful 
of anything which can fall into the views of mankind, namely, of making France 
the best and most loved of Kingdoms and not the most feared. He knows that 
the most true and noble conquests are those of the heart and the affections; 
and just as a plant is barren which gives shade and no fruit, so will he 
enjoy the fruits by which peace is crowned. There is not so much glory in 
extending the limits of the land as in diminishing the taille. This is seen 
by Eichelieu. He also knows that there is less glory in overcoming a hundred 

bonnefon, 32. 

2 Voiture, Works , Ubicini Edition, I, 271-279. 


thousand men, than in putting twenty millions at their ease and security. 
Also, this great spirit who has only been occupied with the means of furnish- 
ing money for the war and of raising men, taking villages and winning wars, 
will occupy himself henceforth, only in establishing repose, riches, and 
abundance. Instead of being a leader in war, he will lead in the advancement 
of the arts. He will make new edicts to regulate luxury and establish com- 
merce. Large vessels accustomed to carry arms will bear merchandise, and hold 
the seas free from pirates, etc. Then the people will admire him and the 

middle classes will sing his praises ■ This is a rather enthusiastic 

eulogy of the Cardinal, but it is interesting as indicating the growth in 
sentiment in his favor among the intellectual French people . They began to see 
the ultimate purpose of Eichelieu's administration; that war was a necessary 
evil, accepted only for the sake of better conditions under future peace. 

A study of Eichelieu's life leads to the conclusion that he was an 
economic statesman and that he was one of the unconscious economic and 
political founders of the French mercantil istic state. Yet he was not an ex- 
treme advocate of the doctrines of mercantilism, for one finds that he differed 
radically from other influential men of his age. The extreme mercantil istic 
view held for its fundamental belief the idea that money is wealth. It follows 
that a nation should have a favorable balance of trade in order to keep gold 
and silver within its boundaries, and should never let them go out of the 
land, because it is the possession of specie that makes the state strong. When 
the Cardinal took up the work of his administration, he believed more or less 
in this doctrine, which was commonly followed and obeyed at that time. But 
as he began to study the economic side of the question; as he was confronted 
with commercial conditions in which the fallacies involved in the idea were 




brought to light in various ways, he gradually came to the conclusion that 
this theory was wrong, and admitted it. In referring to this change of 
economic doctrine, M. Masson says that the other French officials still be- 
lieved in the theory, but Richelieu changed completely to the other side. 
This is a very important event in the economic history of that time, because 
it tends to locate in the age of Richelieu the transitional stage of develop- 
ment from the mercantilists doctrine to the belief in free trade. Just what 
was the influence of the Cardinal's ideas upon those who came after him, 
presents a different historical and economic problem. That Eichelieu was 
not strictly a follower of either the old or new school is evident from a 
study of his life, although the main outlines of his governmental policy 
are based largely upon the mercantilists conception of the strong state. 
He may be regarded as an unconscious medium whereby the old mercantilists 
views finally became merged into the ideas which finally led to the doctrine 
of free trade. For example, one of his letters illustrates very well the 
modern view he possessed in regard to duties on imports. "If one must endure, 
he says, "the heavy import duties which foreign lands put upon our goods 
which enter their lands, and upon those which come to us, let us charge such 
duties on their goods and raise them in proportion as the foreigners raise 
their duties on us." 2 Thus he believed in the system of retaliation, which 
is more or less modern. As a result, it may be asserted that Richelieu 
deserves more consideration upon the economic side than has hitherto been 
given him. The Cardinal may indeed be regarded as a forerunner of the 

■"■Mas son, Histolre du commerce Franc&ls dans le Levant , Paris, 1896, 149. 
2 Letters, II, 332. 


exponents of the modern school of political economy. 

In conclusion a word concerning the economic importance of Richelieu 
for his own age, as well as for subsequent time. When Richelieu came into 
power, he found a nation without credit, deeply in debt, and without a real 
army or navy. In fact France was in the depths of poverty and ruin. His 
keen analytic mind easily comprehended the economic necessities of the land 
and her resources, both geographically and industrially. 1 He believed that 
his nation was ideally situated so far as commerce was concerned, and that she 
was rich in natural resources which were necessary for her upbuilding. Every- 
thing that he did was done with the intention of making France strong commer- 
cially as well as politically. "His treaties with England, Holland, and Ger- 
many, and his defiance of Spain, were all economic policies," says D'Avenel; 
"he extended the boundaries of France in order for her to be secure." 2 In 
other words, Richelieu did not take possession of territory solely because of 
a desire to add land to the French nation, but, as was said oefore, because 
he wanted to strengthen the boundaries of France. One notable example of his 
desire not to add territory is found in his treatment of Italy, where he took 
no land.* 5 He desired to make France a strong commercial nation, and, "in the 
spirit of reciprocity, he gave to foreign merchandise the same rights as they 
gave to French goods." 4 Thus, even though he left France in an unfortunate 
financial condition, because of his wars, he gave an impetus to the economic 
side of her development, which would have placed her in the lead, if unforeseen 
events had not prevented the successful outcome of his plans. 

1 Lavalle'e, Histoire de France , 6 vols., Paris, 1861, III, 476. 
^Letters, I, LXXX. 
^Bridges, 137. 

^Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Gene rale . V, 368. 


It is indeed difficult to account for the failure on the part of 
students of his life and times to bring out the economic side of his career. 
His political activities certainly deserve a prominent place in any account 
of his life, hut his administration has its economic phase and this also must 
be considered. He who laid the foundations for the commercial supremacy 
of France and in doing so did away with such internal disturbances as the 
political power of the Huguenots and the nobles, as well as the growing 
strength of the Hapsburgs, surely deserves to be studied carefully from the 
economic point of view. 

All of these accomplishments must have raised the general economic 
condition of the people. In fact the great force which kept the people back 
was the bad financial system, which, being broken down because of the wars, was 
a heavy strain upon them. But it really had to be endured, as the Cardinal, 
looking into the future, realized that the present must suffer for the benefit 
of the ages to come if France was to be made powerful, and he acted accordingly 
As a result, the people of modern France have gained more from his political 
and economic policies than did those of his day. Colbert tried to build upon 
the foundations laid by Richelieu but was unable to proceed far. The reckless 
ambition of his King, the splendor of the Royal Court, and the unfortunate 
outcome of the political policies of the administration, all tended to ruin 
the building constructed by this worthy follower of the Cardinal.^- 

A series of ups and downs has kept France on the whole in about the 
same position, so far as her commercial importance is concerned, as in the 
age of Richelieu. Nevertheless, the last few years before the great war of 

Bridges, Parts I, II, and III. This work treats the accomplishments of 
Colbert as a logical outcome of the activities of Richelieu. 


1914, saw a great change in this phase of her development. She had begun to 
pay more attention to her marine and colonization projects. Indeed before the 
present crisis, it seemed as if the fundamental economic work carried out by 
the Cardinal was to become a part of a much greater connercial structure 
than France had hitherto attained. 1 

"The deeds of great men live after them." In other words, a man 
is truly great if he has accomplished something which has a living force in 
times after his own. All accounts of Richelieu's life have brought out clearly 
the importance of his political work, but have failed to give similar attention 
to the economic phase of his career. This treatise has endeavored to take up 
the internal and external commercial policies of the Cardinal, and has thus 
limited itself to an interpretation of his economic accompli shments. It has 
tried to establish that Richelieu, as measured by his activities in this par- 
ticular field of his career, comes up to the requirement as to what consti- 
tutes a great man. Two general contributions to economic thought and practice 
entitle him to this position. In the first place, he made an addition to the 
theoretical side of economics by taking a stand in favor of increased freedom 
of trade and opposing the extreme mercantilistic doctrine. This unconscious 
contribution made by the Cardinal might have influenced the development of 
the modern doctrine of free trade. In the second place, his ideas as to "state 
building", by means of a marine, colonization, and commerce in general, have 
formed the basis, as has been said before, of most activities in this particu- 
lar field ever since. 

In the last place, Richelieu's political achievements ^largely accom- 
plished with the intention of obtaining a peace which would for one thing 

lBracq, France under the Republic , 30-74. 


afford an opportunity for France to expand in an economic way, are essentially 
modern. Traces of his ideas can be found after nearly three centuries in 
the economic policies of modern France, and of other nations. His greatness 
cannot be limited to the political sphere, but clearly extends with approxi- 
mately equal credit into the field of practical economics. A contemporary 
poet sums up the economic achievements of Bichelieu in the following poem: 1 
lis chantent quel fut ton me rite 
Quand au gre' de vos matelots 

Tu vainquis les vents et les flots. 
Et domptas l'org-aeil d'Axnphitrite . 
Quand votre commerce affoibli, 

Par toi, puissamment retabli. 
Dans nos havres deserts ramena l'atondance 
Et que surcent vaissaaux maltrisant les dangers 
Ton nom seul au Fran^ais redonna 1 'asseurance 
Et fit naitre la crainte auxcoeur des etrangers . . .etc. 
lis chantent tes conseils utiles 
Par 4ui malgre l'art des mechants 
La paix refleurit dans nos champs 
Et la justice dans nos villes 
lis disent que les inauortels 
De leur culte et de leur autels 

^This poem was written by Jean de Chapelain (1595-1624), and appeared 
under the title: Ode a Monseigneur le Cardinal Due de Richelieu . (Paris, Jean 
Carcusat, 1633). See De Brienne Memo ires . I, 241-243. 

Chapelain ranks among the intellectual men of that age and was a meaber 
of the French Academy. The above poem is considered his best. 


Ne doivent qu'a tes soins la pompe renaissante, 
it-t que ta prevoyance et ton autorite 

Sont les deux forts appuis dont 

1' Europe tremblante 
Soutient et sa foible liberte'. 

Appendix A. 

The following works are the primary and secondary 
sources consulted in the preparation of this thesis. In each 
group they are placed in the order of their importance. 

Group I. 

Manuals of Bibliographical Sources. 

1. Bourgeois, Emile, et Andre, Louis, Les Sources de 1 'Histoire 

France XVII 6 Siecle ( 1610-1715 )7~l£ vols., See Vols. XI, 
XII, Paris, 1913. 

2. Monod, M. , Bibliographie de 1 'Histoire de France, , Paris, 1888. 

3. Franklin, A., Les Sources de 1 'Histoire de France t Paris, 


4. Lelong, P., Bibliotheque His tori que , 5 vols., Paris 1768- 


5. Langlois, Ch. V., et ^tein, H. , Les Archives de 1 'Histoire 

de France . 3 vols., Paris, 1891. 

Of the four bibliographies, the first one has been 
found most valuable in the preparation of this thesis. With- 
out a doubt it is the best bibliographical work covering this 
field with respect to geographies, general histories, memoirs, 
and letters. It is not complete down to date, ending at 1715, 
but it is very full within its prescribed limits. 

Monod *s work is a single volume book ir which is found 
a fairly good catalogue of sources and works relating to the 


history of France from its origin down to 1789. It is arranged 
chronologically and according to "method ique". 

The last two bibliographies are older works and thus 
not so important as the ones just mentioned. Indeed, when one 
considers the fact that French historians have even published a 
three volume account of the archives and the material to be found 
in them so far as concerns all of France, the opportunities of 
the past look small indeed, when compared with the historical 
gains to be obtained in the future. 

Good bibliographies concerning this subject may lastly 
be obtained by consulting (a) Lavisse, E. , Histoire de France , 
Vol. VI, £ partie,Ch. XI., (b) Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire 
Generals, Vol. V, Ch. VIII., (c) Cambridge Modern History , Vol.lY, 
Ch. IV. 

Group II. 

Original Sources. 

1. Richelieu, Testament Politi que . £ partie , Londres, La Haye, 
La Februre, 1770. See appendix B. 

£. Richelieu, The Political Will and Testament of that Great 

Minister of State . Cardinal Duke de Richelieu , London 1665. 

This interesting old English translation is found in 

the Harvard College Library. It was translated by some unknown 

men of the age of Louis XIV and is extremely unique in that it 

shows the wide interest that the Testament Politique attracted 

at that time. 

3. Richelieu, Me mo ires de Richelieu , (M. Petitot, editor), 
Vols. X-XXX7 Paris TE2T. 

These memoirs of Richelieu include the years 1610-1638. 


They are the source of valuable information with respect to the 
economic ideas of the man. Indeed, in one sense of the word, 
they are not memoirs, hut are a collection of notes which were 
sent to him by his agents, advice from his councillors and, fin- 
ally, his own ideas either jotted down by himself or by his sec- 
retaries. The authenticity of the memoirs is generally accepted, 
as it is fairly certain that the work was accomplished under the 
direction of the Cardinal. 

4. D'Avenel, ^G. , Documents . Instructions . Diplomat iques . et Pa- 

piers d'Etat . (Documents inedits sur I'histoire de France"!, 
8 vols., Paris 1853-1877. 

A wonderful collection, including practically all of 
Richelieu's correspondence. Unfortunately the letters left out 
seem to have been the ones pertaining to commerce. The editor 
remedies matter? to a certain extent by listing these letters and 
summing up their main themes. Volume one of this series con- 
tains a splendid introduction by the author. 

5. Hanotaux, M. 3., Llaximes D ' Stat et Fragments Politique du 

Cardinal de Richelieu , (Collection des documents inedits sur j 
1 'hi stoire de France, vol. LI), Paris 1880, See appendix B. 

6. Mercure Francois , 25 vols., (1605-1644), Paris. 

This work is not a journal but is an annual history of 
which the first volume embraces an account of the events which 
took place in Europe from 1605-1611. The collection of twenty- 
five volumes is one of the best sources in the study of the his- 
tory of that period. Being controlled by the government, it 
clearly sets forth the views of the administration and is ex- 
pecially valuable on that account. 

7. Isambert, Recueil Jeneral des Anciermes Lois Franchises de - 

puis l*an~T2Tn jusqu'a la" " ft"evolution de 1789 . 29 vols. , 
tee voTTVlT^aris 1829. 


8. Sue, Eugene, Correspondence de Henry d 'Escoubleau de Sourdis . 

3 vols., Paris 1839. 

This is the best source for information concerning Riche 
lieu's marine activities. M. Sue has written an excellent in- 
troduction, dealing with the state of the marine under the Car- 

9. Montchretien, Antoyne de, Traic te de l'Oeconomie Politique, 

Paris 1889. — 

This economic work is especially important, because of 
the fact that it is the first French work of that nature, and also 
because it sets forth the basis of many of Richelieu's economic 
ideas, whether he was acquainted with it or not. Written in 
1615, it is our first real evidence as to the rise of economic 
ideas in France. 

10. Cal endar of State Papers and Manuscripts . (Venetian series), 

Vols. I VI I I -XXI, London 1912-1916. 

11. Calendar of State Papers , (domestic series), (1623-1642), 

London 1858-1887. Colonial (1574-1660), vol. I. 

An important source for a study of the relations be- 
tween England and France during the administration of Richelieu, 
both from the English and the Venetian, or neutral, point of 
view. It seems strange that this source has been neglected in 

the past by writers in this particular field. 

12. Vo it ure, A Works, 2 vols., Edition Ubicini, Paris 1853. 

This work contains a very interesting eulogy of the 
Cardinal by a contemporary, which is of much economic value. 

13. Richelieu, Journal de Monsieur Cardinal Richelieu . (1630- 

1631), Amsterdam 1864. 

Tot very valuable so far as this thesis is concerned. 


14. Mole, Math lew. Memo ires (Societe de l'Histoire de Prance), 
4 vols., See vols. Paris 1855. 

Mathiew Uole was a member and later president of the 
Parlement of Paris. These memoirs are therefore important in 
that they give one an insight into the ideas of Richelieu's oppo- 
nents. They are also valuable in an economic study of the per- 

15. Beaurepaire, Gh. de, Cahi ers des Etat s de Kormandie (Societe' 

de l'Histoire de France ) , 3 vols.. See vo Is. II-HI Rouen 1877. 

A good source for the economic study of the period. 

16. Talon, Omer, Memoir es , Petitot, £ 8 serie. Vols. LX-LXXII, See 

vol. LX. 

Omer Talon was an avocat in Parlement who in 1641 be- 
came avocat general. He was a constant opponent of Richelieu, 


and A valuable in obtaining that phase of any dispute which 

arose between Parlement anc the Cardinal. One cannot consider 


his work as being a memoir, A it is rather a compilation of speeches, 
of extracts from the registers of Parlement, etc. It is of val- 
ue in a study of the economic side of the period. 

17. Brienne, Comte de, Memo ire 8 de Comte de Brie nne , (Societe de 

l'Histoire de France), Vol. I, Paris 19"16\ 

18. Bassompierre, Marechal de, Memo ires , 4 vols., See vols. III 7 IV 

First edition, Paris 1875."" 

19. Goulas, Nicolas, Memo ires , (Societe de l'Histoire de France), 

£ vols., See vol. 1, Paris 1879. 

20. Tillieres, Comte de, M empires . Paris 1863. 

in 1319 

Tillieres was ambassador to England A and his memoirs 

furnish a good source for a study of Anglo-French relations. 

21. Dumont, Jean, Corps U n iverse la 3? 1 7: 1 Quit iq ue du D roi t des Gens. 

( ROO-1731 ^ 8 vols. Su;—.,ie..:eiit 5 vols. See vol.V, -zt.Z, vol. 
VI, pt. I. Amst. et La Haye, 1726-1739. 

This work contains treaties of alliances, peace, comr.ierc.e, 

etc., from SCO to 1731. It is a valuable source. 


The following sources, while not of much value to this 

thesis, yet are important in obtaining an all around conception 

of the accomplishments of the great Cardinal. 
J.N. , 

2?, La Force, A Memoires de La Force . (1558-1652), 4 vols.. Paris 

A faithful "marechal" of Louis XI II. 

23. Rohan, Henri, Prince de Leon, (1519-1638), Memo ires , Petitot 

edition, 2 e serie, Vols. XVI IT -XIX. 

Herein one finds the Huguenot side of the conflict with 


24. Gaston d'Or leans, (1608-1660), Memo ires , Petitot, 2 e serie, 

Vol. XXXI. 

25. Fontenay, Mareul, Memoir es , Petitot, l ie serie, Vols. LI-LII. 

26. Souvigny, Memoires . 3 vols., See vols. I-II, Paris 1903-1909. 

An excellent account of the political accomplishments 
of Richelieu and Mazarin. 

Group III. 
Secondary Works. 

A. Lives of Richelieu. 

1. Perkins, J. B., Richelieu and the Growth of Fren ch Power . 

(Heroes of the Nation Series), Putnams, 19~0~4. 

A good general account of his life. 

2. Lodge, R. t Richelieu . London 1896. 

This book is of especial interest because the author 
did not consider the Testament Politique of Richelieu as authen- 
tic and thus did not use it in the preparation of his work. See 
his appendix C. 

3. Zeller, B. Richelieu . London 1884. 



4. Fagniez, G. t Le Pore Joseph et Richelieu . 2 vols., Paris 1893. 

5. Price, 2., Cardinal de Richelieu . N. Y. 1912. 

Remarkable for its neglect of the economic side of 
Richelieu's administration. 

B. General Histories which Cover the Period. 

1. Martin, H. , Histoire de France. 6 vols., Paris 1861. 

2. Dareste, M. C, Histoire de Prance. 9 vols., Paris 1884. 

3. Bazin, A., Histoire de France sous Louis XIII et sot3 3 le 

Ministere de Mazarin . 2nd edition, 4 vols., Paris 184"6T 

4. Ranke, L. von, Franzosiche Geschichte . Vols II, III, S'am- 

tliche Werke IX, X, Leipzig 1874. 

5. Griffit, Histoire du Regne de Louis XIII , 3 vols., Paris 1758. 

6. Cambridge Modern History . See vol. IV, Ch. IV, "Richelieu", 

Cambridge 1907. 

7. Anquetil, M. , Histoire de France . 14 vols., See vols. X, XI, 

Paris 1805. 

8. Kitchin, T. , History of France , 3 vols., Oxford 1892-1896. 

9. Michelet, J., Histoire de France , 16 vols., See vol. II, 

Paris 1869. 

10. Macdonald, J. R. M. , A History of France , 3 vols., See vol. 

II, N. Y. 1915. 

C. Histories of Political Economy which Deal with the Period. 

1. Blanqui, J. ^. , History of Politi cal Economy , N. Y. 1880. 

2. Ingram, J. K. , History of Political Economy . London 1904. 

3. Schmoller, G. , The Mercantile System . N. Y. 1902. 

4. Seeley, J. R., The Expansion of England . London 1891. 

The main criticism of all these works would seem to be 
that they reveal a universal neglect of the economic side of the 
administrative career of Richelieu. 


D. Histories of French Commerce. 

1. Bonnassieux, G. J. p. Les Grandee Comp agni es de Commerce , 

Paris, 1892. 

An excellent account of the French colonial and commer 
cial projects during the age of Richelieu. 

2. Deschamps, Le'on, Histoire de la Questi on Coloniale en France 

Paris, 1891. 

A unique work covering the colonial efforts made by 
France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

3. Gouraud, C. M. , Histoire de la Politique CommerciaJe de la 

France et son Influence sur le Progres de la Ri cfoesse "" 
Pub li que . Paris, 1854. 

This work is distinguished not only for the abundance 

' /Cut 

of facts, but for the novelty and profoundness of its reviews 
and ideas. 

4. Levasseur, E», Histoire du Commerce de la France , 2 vols., 

Vol. I, Paris, 1911. 

An excellent work. M. Levasseur has the ability to 
pick out the essentials from the nonessentials. He has done so 
in this book. 

5. Pigeonneau, H. , Histoire du Commerce de la France , 2 vols., 

Paris, 1889. 

One of the best works covering this phase of French 
history. The author sees clearly the economic importance of 
the seventeenth century. 


6. Guenin, E. , Histoire de la Colonisation Franchise A la Nou- 

velle France , Paris, 1896. 

7. Mas son, P., Histoire du Commerce Franpais dans le Levant en 

XVI I e Siecle, Paris, 1896. 

8. Masson, P., Histoire du Commerce Francoise dans 1 1 Afr icque 

Barbaresque , Paris, 190~3. 

9. Vignon, Louis, L_ f Expansion de la France , Paris, 1891. 


10. Norman, C. B., Colonial France . London , 1886. 

This work is not very reliable as the author makes very 
many mistakes with regard to important dates in French colonial 
hi story. 

11. Weber, Henry, La Campagne Francaise des Indes, (1604-1870), 

Paris, 1904. * 

E. Financial Histories of France. 

1. Bailly, M. A., Hist o ire Financiere de la France , E vols., 

Paris, 1830. 

2. Bresson, Jacaues, Histoire Financie're de la Fran ce . E vols., 

Paris, 1843. 

Both works contain a fair estimate of the financial 
administration during the period of Richelieu. 

3. Forbonnais, V. de, Pe oherches et Consid. erations sur les 

Finances de France , Basel ? 1758. 

F» General Works on the Period. 

1. Wakeraan, H. 0., European History (1598-1715), N. Y.,1916. 

A standard brief general work in English for this 


2. Caillet, J, , L 1 Administrat ion en France sous le Ministere 

du Cardinal de P.ichelieu . Paris, 1857. 

A very conscientious and eomplete work, but a little 
confused and apt to neglect the economic phase of the subject. 

3. D T Avenel, G. , Pichelieu et la Llonarchie absolue . 4 vols,, 

Paris, 1859. 

?he best work concerning the Cardinal from an economic 
point of view. 

4. Bridges J. H. , France under Pichelieu and Colbert , Edinburgh, 



A combined economic and philosophical survey of Prance 
under Richelieu and Colbert. A n extremely valuable book. 

5. Lavisse, E« , His toire de France. 9 vols., See vol. VI., Paris, 


The best French account of this period. 

6. Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generale, IE vols.. Vol. V, Paris 


7. Lavallee, T, S. , Histoire des Francais . 6 vols., Paris, 1861. 

8. (a) Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire de la Civilisation Francais e, 

2 vols., Paris, 1697-1898. * 

(b) Pambaud, Hi stoire de la Civilisation Francaise , 2 vols., 
Paris, 1898. 

9. Bonnefon, Paul, La Sooiete Francaise du XVII e Siecle , Paris, 


10. Gasquet, A., Precis des Institutions Po-liti ques et So ci ales 

de 1 'Ancienne France , 2 vols., Paris, 1885. 

11. D'Avenel, G. , La Noblesse Francaise sous Richelieu, Paris, 

1901. * 

1£. D'Avenel, G. , Pretres , Soldats , et Juges sous R ichelieu . 

13. Normand, Charles, La Bourgeoisie Francaise au XVII Siecle 

1604-1661, Paris, T90F: * 

14. Mims, 3. L. , Colbert 1 s West India Policy, See chap. I, New 

Haven, 1912. 

15. Parkman, Francis, The Jesuits in North .america . Boston, 1905. 

16. Hanotaux, G. , Origine de 1 1 Inst i tut ion des Intendants des 

Provinces , Paris, 1884. 

17. Xichaud^ ; Jfigrapnle Universale , 45 vols., Paris, 1842-1865. 

See Vol. XXXV. 

18. Montague, F. 6, i story of England ( 1603-1 660 ) . Political 

History of England, VII . il.Y., 191.1. 

19. Trevelvan.G^ £ngland Under the Stewarts , N.Y., 1910. 

20 Che^ney, E.P. A History of England , 1 vol., N.Y., 1914. 
31. Bracq. France under t;.e Repuolic , fil.i.^iyiu. 


Appendix B. 


Because of the fact that tais thesis is based largely 
on the writings of Cardinal Richelieu and especially upon his 
Testament Politiq ue, it see_.s best to discuss the problem of the 
authenticity of the latter work, which has been a perennial ques- 
tion ever since it was first published. The work belongs among 
the most interesting memorials of French history in the 17th 
century, as shown by the great warmth with which the scholars have 
fought over its authenticity. "But," says iioehm, "such was the 
fate of this work that its authenticity, and therewith its value 
or worth must be placed in doubt because of a succession of cir- 
oumst anees, not yet cleared up. Thus it has been under suspicion 
until now. An important individual has opposed the work and since 
then various teachers have, exerted their ability to defend or ap- 
prove it. Indeed, few works of the world's literature have oeen 
subject to such a searching criticism. n 

Tiie i e st ame nt ? o 1 i t i cue was written sometime between 
the years 1538 and 1642. D'Avenel says that Richelieu continued 
his memoirs as far as 1638, and seeing that he could not finish 
them, wrote the former work. 2 It is divided into two parts, the 
first of which gives a short account of the reign of Louis XIII 

x boehr.i, Introduction, 1. 
2 Letters, VIII, 383. 


up to that time, according to Riohelieu'a interpretation. The 
second part is concerned mostly with matters of administration, 
such as colonial development, the marine, finances, etc. Indeed 
its contents demonstrate that in writing hi a Testament Politiqu e, 
Richelieu desired to leave it as a guide for the King after his 
own death, when the coming peace would afford him a chance to 
build up his state. Also, it was to serve as a vindication ox the 
Cardinal's administration, which had been grossly attacked by 
many enemies. 

The personal nature of the work accounts for the fact 
that it was not published, or known at first by the public at 
large. Indeed, only a few people were aware of its existence. 
Yet the fact that mention was made of it in a funeral oration upon 
the Cardinal, arnica has been found in trie British Museum, certain- 
ly would indicate that some were acquainted with the v.ork and its 
important contribution. Furthermore, the writer of the oration 
bemoaned the fact that the King had not published his copy of the 
Testament Politique . This showed that the King had a copy which 
he was keeping secret, and explains the late public appearance 
of the work. .cover, since neitaer the King nor Richelieu left 
direct evidence that a copy was presented to the former and was to 
be kept secret, one cannot be certain as to the precise reason 
for the late appearance of tae work. "The probabilities are," 
says one writer, "that it was considered so important that it was 
reserved -or the King alone and thus its publication was 

Boehm, 15. 


delayed. 1,1 

There are a number of copies of t le Testament Politi que 
Among tiiese are four important manuscripts, the first of vrtiich 
is found in the French department of foreign affairs. It was y 
probably brought over in 17G5 with the papers of Richelieu as a 
wftole, which ,;ere sent there by permission of Louis XIV. ^ The 
second manuscript was found in the Sorbonne, which institution ob- 
tained it from a formes secretary of the Cardinal. The third was 
found in the possessions of LI. Frudaine, councillor of state and 
of the royal council. The fourth belonged originally to a. de 
Saint-Palaye. The last two were manuscripts found in the hands 
of private individuals and are thoup,ht to be copies of the 
manuscript found in the department of foreign affairs. Thus the 
first two can be regarded as original, since one was found a-nonp; 
the paper 8 of tne cardinal, and the other given by his secretary 
who recognized its authenticity. 

In spite of the existence of tnese copies of the in- 
teresting work, the historian Auoery, who took upon himself the 
task of writing t..e life of the Cardinal, fadled to find it among 
the papers of Richelieu, which were in the possession of his niece 
the Duchess of Aiguillon. He went ahead and published in 1578 
a »vcrk entitled le Traite de la Regale . But if hen the Testament 
appeared about ten years later, the latter work proved t ht his 
conception of Richelieu's ideas with regard to the royal preroga- 
tive was wrong. Indeed he found his reputation as an authority 

T^oehm, 16-17. 
^Memoirs* XI, 267-268. 


on the life of the Uardin-1 to be injured, and as a result it 
was a question of either his downfall or that of the Teat a::.ent 
Politique, and of course he favored the fall of the litter. 

Thua tne fight started. "Aubery in his history of 
the Cardinal Mazarin, n says Bpehffl, "took a determined stand against} 
tae authenticity of the work, but his criticism was purely per- 
sonal and not scientific." 1 Hoi ever, his failure to find the 
manuscript gives evidence of the effort made to keep the work se- 
cret as a ;:ersonal possession of the King. No apparent effort 
was made between 1643 and 1687, to make the public aware of it. 
Nevertheless, once it got into print, its intrinsic importance 
made it an object of eager debate, and the question of its au- 
thenticity became a live one.~ 

One comes next to the Treat debate of 1749 between the 
historians Voltaire and Foncemagne with regard to the last 
writing of the Cardinal. Voltaire hated Richelieu from the very 
start and saw a chance to pay his respects to the departed 

At this point one must take into account the attitude 
of certain groups toward Richelieu as largely influencing the 
secrecy of the Testament and accounting for the violent opposi- 
tion to it. Sympathy could not be expected for the Cardinal or 
for hi 3 work from such opponents as the nobles and the Parlement 
of Paris, Indeed, it is surprising that they permitted the work 

;fpoehm, IS. 
"Toil., 13. 


to appear at all. It certainly did not suit their political am- 
bitions, and therein lies the political explanation for the sup- 
pression of and the opposition to the great book. 

On the otner hand, Richelieu left some stron;; friends I 
especially among the intellectual class. Gabriel Hanotaux, for ' 
example, may be cited as the greatest livino exponent of the true 
greatness of the bishop of Luzon. It is due to such men that a 
reliable account of the life of Richelieu can be obtained at 
present . 

voltaire made an unauthentic, prejudiced attack which 

was answered by Foncemagne in a clear, fair, and concise manner. 

"In fact," says Hoehm, "he knev; hew to return every thrust with 

absolute certainty and effect."^ However, as the dispute was 

a personal one, it is not v/orth consideration except in so far an 

the motives behind it aid in an explanation of the results obtaireu, 

In other words, the opposition to Richelieu in a political and 

personal sense, found a v/elcome outlet in numerous attacks on his 

last »vork. For example, Voltaire's second assault upon the 

Testament was brought about more from personal enmity against cer- 

f rom 

tain Amsterdam publishers than A a desire to oppose the ^gstament 
Politique . He was determined to "show up" tnese publishers as 
being frauds, and picked upon the last contribution of the Cardi- 
nal as the means by which this was to be done. The result was 

Boehm, 2o-24. 

xv i 

a torrent of sarcastic abusive personal remarks which really 
meant nothing against the book itself. 

Opposition developed to the attacks of Voltaire, and the 
Testament Politique had *any defenders. Foncemagne in a letter, 
made a reply which put the former on the defensive . But notning 
positive came out of this conflict. The authenticity of the work 
was net proved as yet, and the question as to whether Richelieu 
had written t :e notes and t:ie text or vice versa was unsettled. 
In fact, the crux of the argument no,v centered around a study of 
the original manuscripts, which contained the text and some notes 
written on their borders. Of course, the Cardinal is accused of 
obtaining his ideas in finances from Sully, but this proves noth- 
ing, as Boehm points out, for any writer at t hat time used the 
intellectual ideas -.of the age as common property. This is also 
illustrated in Richelieu's memoirs, but they i-usc be considered 
likewise a part of his own ideas. 

Both Foncemagne and Ranks recognized the spirit of 
Richelieu in this ./ork, but ffhen they found anything in the book 
which reminded them of other authors they put down a question a, ark 
as to that particular section. sThe best example is perhaps the 
chapter devoted to the finances, whioh was considered to have been 
written by Sully or someone else who had read Sully's ..crks. 
However, Foneem&gne admitted finally that the chapters concerning 
the finances and the marine, if not written by tas Cardinal, were 

1 Boehm, 28. Also, the Cardinal might have obtained his 
ideas from Mont Chretien, but does this prove? 


set down by his secretaries under his supervision, lioehm does not 
doubt that they were the ideas of -ticnelieu and of no one else. x 

The final stage of the controversy was reached when 
nanctaux Drought out his gragpentsj de Kicheiieu , which 
were written by Richeliey. without doubt, since his handwriting 
has been recognized. 

Wow these fragments are a part of his Testament Poli - 
t i aue . That is, ail the passages having a certain mark are found 
in the latter work, Furthermore, alon: : the margin of certain 
passages is found the word Test ament , which would tend to prove 
that particular sections were to be inserted in his last great 
. ork. 

"However, Hanotaux's discovery does not absolutely 
prove the authenticity of the Politique," says Boehgi. It mere- 
ly supports the funeral oration mentioned above in the proof that 
tjfcie Cardinal actually intended to write a work of that kind. 
One must further conclude that the real Testament roliticiue arose 
VLniformly and grew as an organic unit, that it was written during 
the latter part of his life, and that it was completed and was 
not a mere "torso". The Fragments to Boe.h$s a^re just a part of 
the work. The marginal notes on the text are changes to be 
made in the revision of the v/ork. He has no doubt that the frag- 
ments, the text, and the marginal notes comprise what Richelieu 

-£oehm, 2S-3C 
s Maximes D'Etat, 707-728. 





planned should be part of a final copy which he was not able to 
finish. Dees this not help to explain the late publication of 
the work and the silence concerning it? 

In other . crds, the Testament Politiqu e we now have 
is a combination of the text, the marginal notes, and trie fragments 
That numerous editions aay bring about slight mistakes i3 to be 
expected, but this fact does not prove the falsity of the work. 

Finally, wnen one considers again tne purposes which 
Richelieu had in writing this book: (1) to get the King to ;/ait 
until the coming peace, to ta.-ce up the great reorganization of the 
state, (2) to leave a defense of his life-work against future 
attacks that might be made against him; one cannot doubt its im- 
portance and truth: "out of these purposes grew the great inter- 
est which Richelieu put into this work and the value he attribut- 

ed to it. That he tried to adopt and follow out a system based 

on i?hat A in his Testament Politique is evident to students of his 
administration. Indeed, the tenseness and unity of it all, the 
firmness with which the portions were tastily inserted in the 
building up of the whole work, and above all the high personal 
purpose of it all, makes Richelieu responsible for every line of 
it . 

Indeed, when one studies his life and finds out how 
he constantly considered tae future of France; when one compares 
this work with his Memoirs and letters, and sees the conformity 

ISoehm, 30-31* 
3 Ibid., 32. 


in style, judgment j and opinions, it seems inconceivable that 
this is the Tork of any other man than the Cardinal. 

It seems impossible to believe that there was another 
man in France capable of writing, a work as ^re-^t as tne Testa m ent 
Polit jque . Bonnefon say 3, "It is a work uriiich shows the man more 
than t ie writer", and this makes it of supreme value; for in 
reading it, one can conceive of no other personality than that of 
Richelieu behind it all. Pigeonneau sums the whole matter up 
when he says that it is his work in thought as in style. 3 The 
authenticity of the Testame n t Politique is today generally ad- 
mitt ed.3 

-"•Bonnefon, 41o-413. 
3 Pigeonneau, II, 376-377. 
^Molinier, XI, 35. 



The above appendix has been based to a large extent 
upon material found in the following .;orks. 

I. Bo earn, Ernest, Studiun Zu:: Politisohen Test anient e Ri o ne lieu 'a 

Leipfig, 1903 . 

Dr. Boehm, in preparation for the doctoral degree, in- 
vestigated the problem ffltn Bpecial reference to tne fight over 
the authenticity of the Testament Politiqu e. The dissertation 
seems to be sound and has been relied upon for much of the material 
in the above appendix. 

II. Hanotaux, Gabriel, Maximes D'Et a t et Fragments Politiques 

du Cardinal de Pdohelieu . { Collect ion des" Do cum e: ts 
Inedit 3 sur L'Hisxbire de France.) Vol. LI. 

M. Hanotauxf's remarks in tne introduction throw new 

light upon the question at i3sue, and constitute a decisive stage 

in the controversy. 

III. Richelieu, Memoi reg (M. Pet It ©t, Editor) . Vols. X and XI, 
Paris, 1831. 

M. Petitot brings out clearly in these volumes his idea 
of the strong relationship existing- between the Test -..-lent Po li- 
tique and the Memo ires * 

IV. ::olinier, Les Sources de l_Histo ire le France , etc. vol. 
XII, See appendix A, I-II . 


Appendix C. 

The writer of this thesis, Franklin Charles Palm, was 
born at Willmar, Minnesota, August 13, 1390. After preparing 
for college in the high school of that place, he entered Oberlin 
College in 1909, and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 
1914 from that institution. In 1914 he entered the University of 
Illinois as a scholar in history and received the decree of Mas- 
ter of Arts in June, 1915. The following year he held a fellow- 
ship ?~nd during the scholastic year of 1316-1917, he served as 
assistant in the department of history. During the first half 
of the year 1917-1918, he was Professor of History and Economics 
in Buena Vista College, Storm Lake, Iov/a.